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Technology That Goes the Distance
By Girish Arora, Managing Director, Base Batteries
Founded in 1987 Base Batteries is a Bangalore based Lead acid battery manufacturing company in India.
Evolving technologies boost economic growth. The automotive battery industry contributes to the growth of increasing investments in the trade. An online market research firm predicts that the global automotive battery market will grow by 6.9 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key contributing factors to this market growth is the increasing investment in Research & Development by the manufacturers.
Batteries have been the current focal point of the automotive sector. Apart from the lead-acid batteries, new and revised technologies are paving way for lithium-ion batteries. There are a variety of vehicles with the introduction of electric bikes and cars which are increasingly being launched. Keeping this in mind, appropriate battery charging systems and battery designs are required. Appropriate parameters for battery performance include pulse performance, cycle life and safety. There are increasingly new markets for the battery industry which include Electric Vehicle Batteries, Inverters, Solar batteries, and Electronic Surveillance products.
India is growing to be the seventh largest automobile market by 2016 and the third biggest by 2030. With the gradually increasing launch of electric vehicles including e-bikes, solar rickshaws and cars, the coming decade is expected to see vast expansion in the battery market and a move over to lithium-ion and fuel cell technologies.
The replacement market for batteries has been growing considerably. The need for uninterrupted power supply in industries such as telecom, hospitality and banking has resulted in the strong growth of industrial batteries.
Lead acid batteries prove to be highly efficient and resourceful which makes recycling simple. This has resulted in many recycling agents entering the battery business.
Demand for lead acid batteries from India has increased and to meet this, the Indian battery industry is gearing up to register its strongest growth in this year.
Technical challenges to market growth include infrastructural factors like energy, logistics and transportation. Branded batteries comprise 58 percet of the automotive battery market with the rest being unbranded batteries. The battery market in India is experiencing rising demand from various sectors, thereby providing immense opportunities to manufacturers to grow and operate in the market lucratively.
Future trends and innovations in Technology
The Indian automotive industry is one of the world’s fastest growing passenger car markets and second largest two wheeler manufacturer. It is also home for the largest motor cycle manufacturer and fifth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer. Battery capacity boosting technologies are being innovated by manufacturers which can increase the cell capacity by 40 percent. New battery cathodes remove dead zones thus paving way for increased cell capacity of the battery. Many innovations which facilitate reduction of prices for automotive lithium-ion batteries will be realized in the consumer electronics sector where global demand for cheaper and more efficient batteries are intense.
Rising petroleum prices are gradually paving way for hybrid electric vehicles which are cost efficient and are battery operated. Low cost battery storage could enable the wider use of battery operated vehicles which can alter the demand patterns in some markets.
Some of the government measures such as Automotive Mission Plan- 2006-2016 and Focus Market Scheme (FMS) are expected to accelerate the sales of cars and commercial vehicles further contributing to the escalating demand for automotive batteries in the country.
Journey and Innovations
After having successfully started up the business of importing second hand Xerox machines from Australia and repairing them and selling in India, I realized the potential for batteries in India and founded Base in 1987. I initially traded VRLA batteries and it crossed a turnover of 10 lakhs. An exclusive distributorship of Panasonic batteries was followed by a massive expansion in 1991. Automotive batteries were also brought into a gamut, and a new arena of sales was being entered into.
With innovations like a Dial-a-Battery, 365/24 Unmatched Service, free service camps and free home delivery, Base was one of the first companies to change audience perception of the battery industry. To cater to the growing demand, in 2005, I initiated the idea of manufacturing batteries. This prompted the company to start R&D and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in 2008.
With a major plant being developed in Tamil Nadu, the company plans to double the production capacity by 200mn ah per month. Today, Base batteries are one of the fastest growing Lead acid battery manufacturing companies in the country. Base makes batteries from 2.5Ah to 200Ah for a varied range from two-wheelers, automotive, inverter, generator, ups & solar and others. Base has the distinction be the first Indian battery company to have tailor-made a special battery for a F1 car. In 2012-13, Base achieved an annual turnover of Rs.897 crores, making us one of the top five battery brands in the country. We have a strong workforce of over 1,600 employees, working from 30 offices across length and breadth of the country. We are been accredited with certifications like ISO-9001, 14001, TS-16949 besides having type approvals from CIRT, Pune for Bus batteries and MNRE for 12V Flooded tubular batteries of various capacities.