India’s Epsilon Advanced Materials expects US plant to start by 2026

By Neha Arora

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Epsilon Advanced Materials, an Indian battery materials company, expects to start commercial production at its first U.S. facility by 2026, a top company official said.

Days after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden met in Washington to deepen ties, Epsilon unveiled its plans to invest $650 million in a new American facility to produce synthetic graphite anodes, a key component in electric vehicle batteries.

    Epsilon, the first Indian battery component maker to invest in the United States, would finalise a location for its plant in the next three months, Vikram Handa, managing director of Epsilon, told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

The greenfield plant would produce 50,000 tonnes of synthetic graphite anodes a year to power more than 1 million electric vehicles. But initially, the company aims to begin its U.S. operations with 30,000 tonnes annual capacity, he said.

    China dominates the global electric vehicle battery component market, with nearly 98% of production there.

Epsilon would partially rely on soft loans from its customers to fund its U.S. operations.

    “We will not be raising any equity there,” Handa said.

    Epsilon also plans to invest $1 billion in a greenfield facility in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

    The company expects to commission its 10,000 tonnes a year Karnataka facility by 2025. The Karnataka plant would start catering to customers in the United States before the U.S. facility gears up production by 2026, Handa said.

    The company would also focus on the Indian market, where demand for electric vehicle batteries is expected to pick up in the next three years, he said.

    As part of India’s efforts to boost investment in energy transition, the government is preparing a multibillion-dollar subsidy programme for companies making electricity grid batteries.

(Reporting by Neha Arora; Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj, Robert Birsel)