The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it will transfer its technical know-how on space-grade lithium-ion cell technologies to interested and capable Indian companies to help accelerate the manufacturing and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in India.
Lithium-ion batteries are the easiest to scale up and can be designed to fit almost all types of requirements, making them ideal to be used in electric cars and two-wheelers. The batteries are also the most expensive part of an electric-powered car today and ISRO hopes to bring costs down by encouraging mass production of lithium-ion cells.
ISRO’s research into lithium-ion batteries could help manufacturers make better batteries. Considering how most components on a satellite or a space rocket have to be light, durable and cost-effective, the battery tech from ISRO could reduce costs, increase power density (which in turn increases range and reduces charging time) and make batteries safer.
Interested companies will have to go through a qualification process before ISRO transfers their technical know-how to them. To keep only serious companies in the fray, the space agency has begun issuing ‘request for qualification’(RFQ) applications for a price of Rs 25,000 and a security deposit of Rs 4 lakh up front.
The registrants will be required to attend a pre-selection conference where their credentials, technological prowess and business plans will be analysed by ISRO officials. More details of the space agency’s technology will also be presented. The finalists will have to pay a grand total of Rs one crore for the complete download of technical knowledge from ISRO, which the agency says is a very nominal cost.
While this first step sure is exciting news, we will have to wait and see how things progress. If everything goes to plan, the adoption of electric vehicles could speed up dramatically. India could also become a major hub for battery manufacturing, which should give the economy a big boost in the all-electric future.
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