MUMBAI: The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which has drawn up over Rs 2 lakh crore capex over the next seven years for refinery expansion, modernisation and petrochemical capacity, is also working at an alternative to lithium-ion batteries for Electric Vehicles, chairman Sanjiv Singh said on Wednesday.
“The battery what we see today, probably is not the only answer. We don’t have a single grain of lithium in India. So, if we are looking at EVs in a very big way, we have to look at something that is indigenously available,” Singh said without elaborating on the venture.
IOC is working on a solution, and has a tie-up with a foreign country for the same, he said.
The alternative to lithium-ion could be the aluminium-air batteries, which are much cheaper as well as lighter, said another senior official of the company on the sidelines of a conference. “We are trying aluminium air battery.
Aluminium anode, which doesn’t have to be charged. But, the anode has to be changed periodically and the process is detailed,” said Gurmeet Singh, director (marketing).
Currently, the technology is available with Israel and China. Last year, IOC had signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Israel’s Phinergy for developing ultra-lightweight metal-air batteries for EVs.
The LoI was for R&D, deployment and manufacture of metal-air batteries for an array of applications.
“We cannot talk about our commercial strategy, but we are in an advanced stage,” Gurmeet Singh said. The potential sites for setting up the facilities could be in metros like Chennai, which has large car manufacturing facilities around.
IOC has also participated in the Expression of Interest floated by the government to set up EV charging stations.
It has already set up 24 EV charging stations; but space is an issue, as fuel retail outlets do not have space to park vehicles for longer periods and most of the sites are expensive, Singh said.