Suzuki, Toshiba, Denso EV battery plans go on the back burner due to the coronavirus pandemic

MUMBAI: The India joint venture of Suzuki Motor, Toshiba and Denso is likely to put on hold plans for a second phase of its project to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, even as the work on the first phase is currently behind schedule, people in the know said.Lack of a well-defined electric vehicle policy and a slowing market for such vehicles have led the joint venture, Automotive Electronics Power (AEPPL), to go slow on the second phase, one of the people said. Earlier, Korea's LG Chemicals had put on hold its project to produce lithium-ion batteries in India in collaboration with the Mahindra Group.AEPPL said the first phase of the project was delayed by a few months due to operating and logistical hurdles posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and that the company was "making efforts to achieve commissioning early". It didn't respond to a specific query from ET on the second phase of the project.Carmaker Suzuki holds half the stake in the three-way JV among the Japanese companies to manufacture lithium-ion batteries at Gujarat's Hansalpur. Industrial conglomerate Toshiba holds 40% and automotive component maker Denso the remaining 10%. The JV was expected to invest ₹5,000 crore, with more than ₹3,700 crore for the second phase, providing employment to over 1,000 workers over five years. In the first phase the company plans to set up a single assembly line.