LG Chem halts lithium-ion battery project in India

LG Chem has halted plans for its lithium-ion battery project in India as the auto sector reels under the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reports The Economic Times.

The company was in talks with Renault, Mahindra & Mahindra and Hyundai for an Indian consortium for the project and regarding equity participation for the same. LG Chem stated the project was announced in 2018.

Batteries from the project were to be supplied for electric vehicles of Hyundai, M&M, Renault and M&M’s South Korean subsidiary Ssangyong.

India is still at the “beginning stage of exploring demand of lithium-ion battery for EV”, an LG Chem executive told The Economic Times, and there is no “tangible information on the progress of the investment plan.”

Mahesh Babu, CEO of Mahindra Electric told the journal that discussions on the project were detailed, but this has now “gone under the carpet”. “We have no idea on when this project will revive,” he said.

Industry experts however also believe that COVID-19 notwithstanding, India needs clearer battery storage policy with better incentives, higher localization and reduced import tariffs.