JSW & LGES explore EV battery partnership in India

Date: September 25, 2023.JSW Group is looking to enter the electric vehicle (EV) market with a strategic partnership with LG Energy Solution (LGES), a South Korean battery manufacturer. JSW has held preliminary discussions with LGES executives in Korea earlier this month. They proposed a joint venture to produce battery cells in India for EVs and energy storage systems.

JSW is also in talks with other global battery players. These include China’s CATL and Japan’s Panasonic and Toshiba, as it aims to establish a local supply chain for EVs. JSW wants to set up a battery factory with a capacity of 20 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by the end of this decade, starting with 8 GWh in the first phase.

With the global automotive industry shifting towards electric mobility, India has emerged as a key market for EVs. The government’s push for cleaner transportation, coupled with the growing awareness of environmental issues. They fueled the demand for electric vehicles. However, the availability of locally manufactured, high-quality batteries remains a crucial factor in the widespread adoption of EVs in the country.

JSW’s chairman, Sajjan Jindal, has publicly expressed his ambition to build EVs in India and has explored the possibility of acquiring a stake in China’s MG Motor. However, those talks have been put on hold as JSW is now in negotiations with another Chinese automaker, Leapmotor. They are discussing licensing technology for making EVs under its own brand.

LG, which supplies battery cells to major automakers such as Tesla and General Motors. It has asked JSW to share details of its requirements for EVs and energy storage. LGES already has a presence in India, supplying imported battery cells to local electric scooter makers such as Ola Electric and TVS Motor.

India’s EV market is still nascent, accounting for less than 2% of total car sales last year. However, the government has set a target of increasing the share of EVs to 30% by 2030. The government is offering financial incentives to encourage local battery and EV component production. They are also drafting a new EV policy that would reduce import taxes in exchange for investments in domestic manufacturing.

The discussions between JSW Group and LG Energy Solutions are said to be in the preliminary stages. Both parties are exploring various aspects of the potential partnership, including technology transfer, research and development collaboration, and battery manufacturing facilities.

If the partnership materializes, it could mark a significant step forward in India’s EV journey. This could help the country accelerate its transition towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation options. Furthermore, it may open doors for similar collaborations between Indian conglomerates and global battery manufacturers. This could ultimately benefit the broader EV industry in the region.

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