Battery pack unit at Amara Raja’s gigafactory site Hyderabad to go on stream 

Updated - June 12, 2024 06:14 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2024 10:07 pm IST - HYDERABAD

A 1.5 GWh battery pack assembly unit, part of the ₹9,500 crore investment Amara Raja Group has committed over ten years on an ambitious lithium-ion cell gigafactory near Hyderabad, is set to get into commercial production within two months.

It will be the first phase of the 5 GWh battery pack assembly unit and likely to be inaugurated in next one or two months, Amara Raja Advanced Cell Technologies Chief Technology Officer M. Jagadish said. The Group had in December 2022 announced plans to set up a 16 GWh lithium-ion cell manufacturing as well as the battery pack assembly unit in Mahabubnagar, near here.

With commercial production of the lithium-ion cell likely to commence around October 2026, the company has decided to import the cells and assemble batteries for supply to electric vehicle manufacturers, Chief Operations Officer Niranjan C said. Construction of the cell manufacturing facility, to be taken in phases, is expected to begin shortly, he said.

On the investment made thus far in the project, he said it would be anywhere between ₹500-₹600 crore, including in the research facility established near the Hyderabad airport.

The two senior executives who along with ARACT Business HR Head Sridhar V.V.S. spoke on the project while pointing to a multi-pronged hiring strategy the company is pursuing amid a growing demand for trained manpower. When fully commissioned, the gigafactory project is expected to employ 3,000-3,500 people on the manufacturing side and 500 focused on research and development.

With trained talent limited, the company is looking abroad, especially in the field tech development and for research oriented tasks. “We are looking at those trained abroad and expats,” he said.

The company was also working with premium institutions to identify talent suitable for the project, Mr.Jagadish said. Amara Raja also has a skill development centre to train prospective candidates, he said. The senior executives said only one-third of the skills needed in lead battery manufacturing are relevant in lithium ion cells manufacturing.

Mr.Sridhar said the company focused on the new energy business had 600 employees, with 400 of them women, working out of battery pack facilities in Tirupati and near Hyderabad. Amara Raja Group headcount was about 18,000.

Talent pool is an issue faced by all the players forming part of the EV battery and charging ecosystem and prevails amid a growing demand for the vehicles. Seeking to underscore need for skill development, the senior executives cited projections that estimate the industry to generate 10 million direct jobs and additional 50 million indirect jobs by 2030. The company said growth of EV segment is expected to create numerous job opportunities across segments, including battery manufacturing, design, research and development, charging infrastructure, services and retailing. For gigafactories, where advanced cells and the battery packs are made, only 10% of the required talent is available. The industry is facing reverse migration with talent being recruited from other countries or Indians sent to China or U.S. for training in the technology. Amara Raja is preparing for a significant workforce expansion and estimates it will require 1,000 people in R&D space; 2,000 on shopfloor as operators, technicians, and assemblers; and 1500 in the pack assembly.

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