Hyderabad: Gurgaon-based energy storage company, LivFast Batteries, is betting big on the automotive sector with number of e-auto rickshaws and electric two-wheelers plying on roads picking up.
If GST on e-rickshaws and power storage products are reduced from the current slab of 28 per cent, the company believes electric vehicles segment will become more attractive.\
Sharing the trend, Gurpreet Singh Bhatia, CEO, LivFast, told Telangana Today, “In the automotive sector, there is a growth of up to 12-15 per cent annually. Number of passenger & commercial vehicles and tractors is growing constantly. Though electric vehicles (EVs) are being used by merely 3 per cent of the population, there is a significant percentage jump in number of users and sales.”
“LivFast has a dominant position in e-rickshaw batteries. In India there are 1 million e-auto rickshaws already. Passenger mobility, commercial vehicle mobility and two wheelers will drive growth in the EV space in the coming years. Our SAR group has presence in electric vehicles. Light goods commercial vehicles, light passenger commercial vehicles, electric two wheelers and buses will be the focus. We are also building charging infrastructure on a pilot basis in New Delhi. This will give us fresh insights,” Bhatia added.
LivFast forayed into energy storage segment in 2014 and set up a manufacturing facility in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh in 2015 for automotive batteries. With its expansion last year, the capacity got enhanced by 1.8 million batteries.
He informed, “We initially created capacity to make 2 million batteries for two-wheelers and 1 million units for auto rickshaws during 2015-16. Now we have 6 million batteries per annum capacity in total. We made a Rs 400-450 crore capex so far, out of which Rs 250 crore has gone into manufacturing. We are targeting 15 per cent market share in the inverter battery market.”
India’s inverter battery market is around Rs 12,000 crore while the inverter market is Rs 3,000 crore. The market is growing marginally, however, 50 per cent of the market is still unorganised. With GST, more growth will be seen in the branded segment.
In India 5 million inverters are sold annually while batteries are sold at an estimated 14 million. For LivFast, Bhatia says, the largest segments for inverters are home and SMEs in India. UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu have high demand while the demand is comparatively lesser in Telangana and AP (due to adequate power supply).
The company in the last four years has spread its presence pan-India and to 22 overseas markets. Telangana and AP cumulatively are a Rs 700-crore market for inverter batteries. LivFast clocked Rs 1,000 crore nationally in 2017-18. In 2018-19, it is targeting Rs 2,000 crore of which TS and AP will account for Rs 100 crore. The company has a strong presence in SAARC nations and Middle East.
“In future, we will focus on ASEAN nations, Myanmar and Singapore. We are in advanced stage of foraying into Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia and will also focus on Nigeria and other African countries. We are talking to partners in Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to carry out manufacturing be it in joint venture route or for creating an assembly plants,” Bhatia said on overseas plans.
On the innovation front, LivFast has been focusing on research and development and its eighty plus engineers in Bengaluru have developed more efficient products. The company is among the only two in India that carries out slurry filling in batteries that improves their efficiency.
He said, “We have also developed an advanced technology to charge batteries. We have developed durable batteries for e-rickshaws, which are used rigorously. In the electric vehicle space, the group is looking at the entire range- from making vehicles to charging infrastructure to lithium ion batteries.”