BMW i3 electric car
Workers watch the first serial production BMW i3 electric car at the BMW factory in Leipzig. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

A team of Indian scientists are working on a possible technological breakthrough that could make clean technology cars such as electric and full hybrids much more affordable in the future. The research is aimed at developing batteries of cars using spacecraft technology.

The research is being undertaken jointly by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), the country's premier vehicle research and testing institute, and the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), reports Business Standard.

ARAI and VSSC will design and develop the new spacecraft-like car batteries. ARAI will later offer the technology to carmakers for domestic mass production, which will lead to significant decline in battery costs. India currently imports all its car batteries at a high cost.

"The concept of using for automobiles the same battery as is used for space vehicles is proved and now with the collaboration with ARAI, it will be tested for actual use in vehicles,” says VSSC director K Sivan.

This will significantly cut the cost of battery-run cars, ARAI Director Rashmi Urdhwareshe said. The research will focus on developing technology in EV/HEV applications for Indian automotive industry and facilitate promotion of green mobility platform, she added, reports the Hindu Business Line.

VSSC has successfully lab-tested the technology used to make batteries for space applications for auto-sector applications. ARAI will test it at the vehicle level and will come out with a prototype in about one year’s time. ARAI will also develop battery management system and thermal management system for the battery to make it safe for the vehicles and passengers.

Recent months have witnessed an increased demand for electric cars and hybrids in Indian states of Delhi and Karnataka as a result of state-sponsored incentives. “We have seen an uptick in demand in Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune. This trend will hopefully continue,” said a representative of Mahindra Reva, the makers of India’s only electric car.