bhavish aggarwal

Ola Electric to Develop Solid-State Batteries for Scooters by Next Year


Ola Electric is making strides in developing solid-state batteries, with plans to power its vehicles using its own cells by next year, according to founder and chairman Bhavish Aggarwal.

“We are in the very early stages of experimenting with solid-state batteries,” Aggarwal stated on Saturday.

Aggarwal anticipates that Ola’s electric scooters, among the top sellers in India, will be powered by their own cells starting early next year. This timeline coincides with the commencement of commercial production at Ola’s cell gigafactory in Southern Tamil Nadu. The factory, owned by an Ola Electric unit, has been selected for the government’s battery manufacturing incentive scheme.

Solid-state batteries promise enhanced safety, longer lifespan, and faster charging compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries, which use flammable liquid electrolytes. However, widespread adoption has been challenging due to issues with raw material availability, complex manufacturing processes, and high costs.

Japan’s Toyota Motor, a major advocate of solid-state batteries, plans to launch them globally in the coming years.

Currently, Ola sources its cells from South Korea’s LG Energy Solution and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology. Localizing cell manufacturing is viewed as a crucial step in reducing the upfront costs of electric vehicles (EVs), with cell sourcing being one of the highest expenses for EV manufacturers.

The Bengaluru-based company has started manufacturing the more efficient 4680 battery cells, though only for testing. These cells are known to be more efficient than the widely used 2170 cells, but scaling up production has been a challenge for many, including Tesla.

Ola’s 4680 cells have received key domestic certification, according to Aggarwal. The company will have an initial annual production capacity of about 1.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) for these cells, with an investment of $100 million.

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