Building on the success of its battery business, Gurugram-based SAR Group is preparing to enter the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing space, focusing on two-wheelers, and small commercial and passenger vehicles in the coming months.
SAR Group returned to battery manufacturing business four years ago after divesting 74 per cent stake in the energy storage products brand Luminous to France's Schneider Electric for Rs 1,400 crore back in 2011. Away from its earlier focus on storage and power backup solutions, partly owing to the non-compete agreement it had with Schneider, the company's product lineup this time featured automotive batteries, the experience of which has led to the establishment of a new e-vehicle vertical by the group.
The group had already developed prototypes of city commercial and passenger vehicles and is currently in the process of finetuning the specifications of a battery-powered two-wheeler that would be made available at a similar price of a popular petrol engine scooter when it is launched, according to Gurpreet Singh Bhatia, chief executive officer of Livefast Batteries Private Limited, which is the group's battery products subsidiary.
Almost all the Indian automotive and two-wheeler makers besides many EV startups had announced their plans with regard to the launch of battery-powered vehicles in a big way starting from this year. Interestingly, Saar is the only Indian battery maker that is gearing up to join the EV manufacturing bandwagon while its bigger market peers are looking at the battery business opportunity that would be generated by the electric vehicles in the future.
Livefast Batteries had generated around Rs 1,000 crore revenues last year and is expected to double its revenues on the back of the Inverter Products it has recently launched following the expiry of the non-compete
"Most do not know that there are already one million e-rickshaws plying on the roads, mostly in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, and we are a dominant player in powering them. We have already set our priorities as far as the EVs and the EV batteries are concerned," Bhatia told Business Standard on Friday.
The EV shift will first start with the city passenger vehicles and the small commercial trucks followed by two-wheeler space in a big way, according to him. The company would continue using the lead-acid batteries using in-house technology innovations before it is ready to make lithium-ion batteries for which the company had already bought an assembly line. It also has plans to set up EV charging infrastructure.agreement with the French company. Inverters alone account for Rs 15,000 crore of the Rs 25,000 crore battery market in India, according to Livfast official.
Last year the company had set up an inverter battery plant with an annual capacity of 1.8 million units at an investment of Rs 250 crore. It had sold 1 lakh units in the first 75 days after the launch of inverter products. The company is currently launching these products across South India.
Responding to a question, Bhatia said they were hoping to take the company's market share to 10-12 percent level across the battery segments including the automotive replacement market and inverters from the present 4 percent level in a year or two.