Indian Electric Vehicle Manufacturers Need to Move to LFP Batteries: Oben Electric CEO. india

Universally, EVs and EV production are undergoing vicissitudes at an escalating tempo. As the road to transition picks momentum, novel inventions are being commercialized steadily. These are not only across structural designs, futuristic styling, and advanced systems but also across Component development, R&D, and Battery technology. This has further been bolstered by the ecosystem stressing the need for better-performing EVs, bringing them at par or better than conventional automotive.

While production and components move up the scale in terms of quality, design, performance, and output, 40% is still dictated by their battery power and performance. Lithium-ion batteries have long aided the earliest batch of EVs as the most popular power supply coming off assembly lines. But there has been and will always be more room for improvements as we seek the best of EVs. This has brought in an epoch for developing advanced chemistry compositions (ACC).

Research & Testing is now bringing forth safer, better performing, fast-charging, and longer-running batteries. One such proven benign yet robust battery type is the LFP from the first-line gen of Lithium-ion batteries.

E-4Ws are widely using LFP or Lithium Ferro Phosphate in the country, thus we see much better electric cars today. Most electric two-wheeler manufacturers offer vehicles with NMC or Li-ion batteries basis their vehicle type, segment, and vehicle dynamics. While battery plays an important role, its use case basis also decides the kind of battery one wishes to offer. For example, the low-speed segment may attract a different type of battery basis performance and output expected from the vehicle or the purpose it is expected to fulfill.

LFP comprises of Iron and Phosphate which are naturally occurring elements and are in abundance in the country. Hence, they do not require extensive excavations at greater lengths like Nickle and Cobalt. Toxic substances such as Nickle and Cobalt must be imported if an NMC battery is being manufactured in India. The volatile price of Nickle saw a 107% price hike in March 2022, pushing the overall costs of manufacturing an EV in the country. LFPs are less toxic and less harmful to the environment.

It has been scientifically proven that LFPs are a better alternative than others. They are also able to meet the extreme tropical climates of India due to their ability to withstand 30% higher temperatures. LFP battery apart from its efficient heat dissipation and thermal stability needs to go along with a battery pack design that not just evenly distributes heat but ensures maximum heat exchange with the environment. Hence, making sure that the battery pack remains cool as one rides the two-wheeler.

LFPs have a low self-discharge rate, offering a better range and longer life cycles. Again, as proven, LFP chemistry provides three times higher lifecycles. They are less susceptible to problems caused by the depth of discharge, designed to discharge up to 80-90% of the total capacity without long-term damage, hence translating to more range. It requires low maintenance, resulting in the least downtime while maintaining optimum output.

These turn out to be far advantageous and extending not just during their usable life cycle in EVs but also in their end-of-life cycle, ex: for static applications such as UPS. The recycling rate of an LFP Battery is higher compared to NMC.

As EVs take center stage, the industry shall witness battery chemistries that will be free of heavy metals and can outperform lithium-ion batteries. Organizations are targeting developing batteries that will be cheaper, can charge faster, and pack in higher energy density and power. Most international research labs are already testing and are firm on presenting the next line gen of battery compositions such as Sodium-ion, Metal Air, Lithium-metal, solid-state, and many more, which will make EVs worldwide safer, faster, and run longer.

This article is authored by Madhumita Agrawal, Co-founder & CEO, Oben Electric. All views expressed are personal.

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