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Multiple Indian ‘Gigafactories’ expected by 2019

At least two global technology leaders could set up Gigafactories to manufacture lithium-ion cells in India in the next couple of years, according to the head of the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA).

This focus is being driven by opportunities in both stationary and electric vehicle (EV) applications in India, particularly with the government goal of making all vehicles electric by 2030.

As is well known, the Indian government has already extended a red carpet welcome to US-based storage, solar and EV specialist Tesla to set up a Gigafactory in India, but there are similar discussions ongoing with at least two other major manufacturers with Gigawatt-scale manufacturing already installed elsewhere, Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, IESA executive director, told Energy-Storage.News.

There are also a couple of early stage companies with whom IESA is working at present to help set up their first Gigafactory, meaning there are at least five companies looking seriously at this kind of energy storage manufacturing scale in India.

Tesla chief Elon Musk had raised concerns about having to source local equipment in India, but the Indian Ministry of Trade and Commerce has clarified that the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy does not mandate manufacturers set up in India to source components domestically. However, no Tesla plans have been confirmed.

There are plenty of other international players getting involved. Japan's Panasonic, which has sold over 130MWh of Li-Ion batteries for the telecoms market and distributed applications, is now setting up a battery assembly facility with India seen as one of the firm’s key growth markets.

Other giants like China’s BYD are also considering entering India.

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