Electric two-wheeler maker WardWizard Innovations and Mobility has charted plans to set up a lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant and make its debut in the electric three-wheeler segment using ₹1,300 crore that it proposes to raise.
The Vadodara-based company currently sells 14 electric two-wheeler models through the brand Joy e-bike, including 10 high-speed ones. Through its own lithium-ion cell production plant, the company’s management is keen to not only secure the supply chain for its EVs, but also bring down their cost of ownership.
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Yatin Gupte, chairman and managing director, WardWizard, said, “We will be starting with a lithium-ion assembly plant by January and over the next 18-24 months we will be converting that to lithium-ion manufacturing with a capacity of 1 GW.”
Typically, a battery pack makes up 30-40% of the total cost of an electric vehicle. Cells or entire battery packs are imported into India, mostly from China, making them expensive as well as exposed to geopolitical uncertainties. Very few companies in India have announced plans to get into cell manufacturing, including Ola Electric, Exide Industries and Amara Raja Batteries. The first of these plants is scheduled to become operational next year.
WardWizard is in the process of hiring senior scientists from Germany and Japan, who will be based in its Singapore research and development (R&D) centre. For a 1 GW set-up, the company will need an investment of close to ₹700 crore.
“We will be saving 24-28% on costs because of in-house cell manufacturing. The savings will be passed on to customers, improve the distribution and our financial position. We will need 24 months to start cell production,” Gupte said.
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WardWizard recently started mass production of electric three-wheelers, a category it had not explored till now. It is hoping to get certification from the Automotive Research Association of India in the next few days.
Since the company does not meet localisation norms specified by the government, none of its current two-wheelers get the FAME 2 subsidy which ranges from ₹17,000 to ₹55,000. However, for January, the company has lined up an electric motorcycle and an electric scooter with a level of localisation that helps it qualify for the FAME 2 benefits.
“We never applied for a FAME subsidy simply because our models are not completely made in India. But our new models in January will be completely made in India and we will be applying for the FAME subsidy,” Gupte said.
The board of WardWizard recently approved raising $150 million by way of qualified institutional placement, American depository receipts and global depository receipts. This proposal needs shareholders’ and other regulatory approvals.