Li-ion battery maker Electrovaya Inc. has signed two MOUs in the areas of energy storage in the telecom sector with Environ Energy (Bhaskar Solar), part of a $4 billion Indian conglomerate, as well as a further expansion in the electric two-wheeler sector with Hero Eco for markets in Europe, North America and India.
Electrovaya would work with Hero Eco to implement Li-ion-powered electric bikes for Hero’s markets in Asia, Europe and North America. Hero Eco, the umbrella entity that includes Hero Electric, Hero Exports, Hero Cycles, Mediva, Winn and Hero Ecotech recently expanded its operations in Europe and North America through its overseas acquisition. As a result of this acquisition, Hero will now market Li-ion-powered electric bikes in less price-sensitive markets of Europe and North America, expanding its market reach to 22 countries.
Hero’s expansion into Europe fits well with Electrovaya’s recent acquisition of Miljobil Grenland in Europe. Miljobil is a Li-ion battery pack integrator, which was earlier part of Tata Motors.
Hero is also expecting an increase in sales of Li-ion battery powered electric two-wheelers in the price-sensitive Indian market as a result of India’s recently announced National EV policy. The Indian government’s recent EV policy calls for a Rs 23,000 crore (US$4.237 billion) plan to promote the production of electric (EV) and hybrid vehicles over the next eight years, and set a sales target of 6 million units by 2020. The policy includes aspects such as incentives to customers, charging infrastructure, research & development funding and creation of EV zones.
Hero Electric has recently been developing and testing its products in Europe and North America.
The MOU with Bhaskar Solar intends to harness Electrovaya’s Lithium Ion Battery technology in making renewables-based telecom towers possible. Electrovaya would work jointly with Bhaskar Solar to implement renewable energy management solutions across Bhaskar’s proposed 15,000 telecom tower applications.
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India currently has more than 300,000 tower sites of which over 30,000 are in off-grid areas. The majority of the telecom towers are powered by diesel generators, whether on-grid or off, due to the intermittent power supply. The total annual consumption of diesel fuel by these towers is 2 billion liters, as a result of which 5 megatons of CO2 is produced annually. TRAI has recently made it mandatory for telecom companies to use renewable sources of energy for powering their towers.
At least 50% of towers and 20% of the urban towers are to be powered by hybrid energy sources (renewable and grid) by 2015. In the second phase, the telecom companies will be required to convert 75% of the rural towers and 33% of the urban towers to run on hybrid power. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is supporting off-grid solar telecom applications by providing capital subsidy of 30% to a maximum subsidy of Rs 90 per watt peak. Alternatively, soft loans at 5% interest rate subsidized by India Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) are being offered for such projects.
Electrovaya’s technology has been commercialized and brought to market with the support of the Government of Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).