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May 8, 2002 | 1500 IST
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Canada-based Indian develops high-mileage car batteries

BS Bureau

Electrovaya Inc, a Toronto, Canada-based firm promoted by an Indian S Das Gupta, said it had developed batteries for cars, which will make them as driveable as any other normal fuel vehicles, carrying four or more passengers for up to 200 km before requiring a recharge.

Electrovaya has entered into talks with all three leading car companies - Ford Motors, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler for manufacturing such cars in the United States.

A deal is expected to be struck within the next couple of weeks.

"We will source the gliders or the chassis from them, fit it with our battery propulsion plus the motor and the required electronic systems and sell it through their distributors," Das Gupta said.

The cars will be co-branded with Electrovaya and the respective car company. "At a latter stage we might also tie-up with an Indian manufacturer," he added.

"Zero-emission cars available in the market at present are bulky with all the space taken up by the battery, and as a result the vehicle moves batteries instead of moving people," Das Gupta said.

The battery invented by Electrovaya stores more energy and being made of plastic actually occupies less space than any other conventional rechargeable batteries, he said. The battery fitted in the car will weigh 125 kg, take 60 litres of space and will have a 25kwh capacity.

Recharging up to 70 per cent battery capacity can be done in as little as 15 minutes and will cost $1.75 per charge.

Electrovaya has in fact surpassed standards set by the industry, which requires a zero emission car battery to have a energy density of 230 Wh/l and specific energy of 150 Wh/kg. Batteries from Electrovaya perform at 480 wh/l of energy density and 213 Wh/kg of specific energy.

Plans are on to launch the vehicle by early 2003.

At present the company is busy marketing the concept through road shows and participation in various zero emission programmes. Meanwhile, Das Gupta has drawn up plans of entering the Indian market with different versions of the battery, which will cater to the cell phone and the personal computer segment.

It is in the process of searching for a channel partner in the country and also hopes to set up a manufacturing base here once the product movement reaches a critical volume.

"Once we create a base in India we will also be able to cater to Singapore, Bangkok and other countries," he added.

With demand for cell phone and laptops rising in India, Das Gupta sees a huge market for his batteries that can store double the energy than the ones that are in vogue today. On the price front, these will be competitively priced and is expected to provide the existing players a run for their money.

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