IESW 2023: Anant Misra, VP - Lithium Business, Livguard | Interview
At the recently held India Energy Storage Week 2023 event, energy storage solutions company Livguard took part as a distinguished exhibitor by showcasing some of its latest and advanced products in the EV battery and home energy storage space. Speaking exclusively to ETN, Anant Misra, Vice President - Lithium Business, Livguard, said that his company is bullish on the emerging market demand for lithium technology products meant for light electric vehicles and home energy storage applications in India. He also touched upon the value-addition that this technology brings to the end-applications and telematics-aided service support for these products. Interview by Dhiyanesh Ravichandran.
What's your first impression of 2023 edition of IESW?
The show is great and is growing year by year; the difference that I see this year is that a lot of manufacturing and equipment companies are exhibiting, complementing the battery and vehicle companies, which conveys that the expanding horizons of the clean energy industry.
What are the technological and market trends that are emerging in the battery industry in recent times?
In the EV space, there is a huge impetus on safety, especially with the developments in the chemistry side of batteries. LFP is emerging as a safe alternative pursued by OEMs, and form factors are also changing from 18650 prismatic types to large cylindrical cells. So, the industry is in a great flux and forums like IESW are great in creating awareness and bringing more clarity with emerging technologies.
As far as lithium batteries are concerned, which are the applications and product segments that are fast catching up and Livguard is bullish about?
Livguard is into making lithium-ion battery packs for light electric vehicles including E2Ws and E3Ws – typically falling between 48-60 volt portfolio. Yet, out primary bread and butter is batteries for energy storage. We will be launching ESS products for both home and C&I segments. Our company is certainly bullish on the E2W segment, as lot of traction can be found in that space in India. I could also see lot of progress happening in Battery-as-a-service (BaaS) model as well.
Livguard has presented a lithium battery pack for e-rickshaws at the IESW 2023. Tell us about the product and its market potentials in India.
We are selling about 40-50 thousand e-rickshaw battery units every month, and about 8-10 percent of that accounts for lithium batteries. So, a significant shift from Lead Acid to lithium batteries is already happening, and is consistently growing. Despite a relatively high cost, consumers are realising tangible TCO and power benefits out of lithium batteries in e-ricks, as lithium batteries offer higher performance, enhanced reliability and even fast-charging. The users certainly understand the value of switching to lithium battery packs, and this segment is bound to perform well in the coming years.
Any plans to make battery packs for the emerging segments of electric light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and passenger cars in the coming years?
No such plans as such, at this point of time. We are currently focussed on light EVs; at best we can think about expanding to 1-ton class vehicles in the coming years. Because, we already have enough on our plate to cater to in the domestic market, with E2Ws and E3Ws also forming the huge chunk of EV sales in the country.
What new products or solutions can we expect in the lithium business vertical of Livguard in the coming years?
The battery segments will largely remain the same, with E2Ws, E3Ws and home energy solutions including solar integrated on-grid or off-grid solutions and invertors. But, more than new segments, customers can expect reliable battery packs that can instil confidence in industry and also on Livguard. Further, we will also be working on complete drivetrain solutions for EVs with integrated motors and controllers, with development and R&D using system-integrated approach.
Considering lithium batteries as the heart and soul of electric vehicles and ES products, which kind of service support will Livguard offer to its customers for lithium technology products?
As far as the physical force on ground for service support is concerned, we already have a pan-india service network that covers our broader portfolio of products. The existing service teams are getting trained in the EV products and segments as well. In some 5-6 states, we already have a trained man power selling and supporting these products.
However, the new approach that we are introducing to our products service is using telematics. In another one year or so, we envisage that all our products will be telematic-enabled, which can enable remote support and service calls, including pre-empting certain faults and pro-active diagnosis and fixing. We don't want the products to go faulty in any case scenario. The required awareness and technical infrastructures are being developed in this regard.