Bangalore-based Expo Energy may have come up with a 15-minute fast charging solution for electric vehicles. The startup, which has just raised $13 million from CERA, is a success based on the combination of its proprietary battery pack and charging infrastructure.
Exponential Energy’s business model is focused on OEMs building commercial EVs for profit. Ideally, the company could work with an OEM to integrate the battery pack, or e^pack, with exponential chargers or e^pumps that can be quickly charged. Earlier this month, Exponent announced its first partnership with Indian electric vehicle manufacturer Altigreen, the Exponent-enabled Altigreen neEV HD, a three-wheeler that the two companies say can be fully charged in 15 minutes from 0% to 100%.
The upgrade will only charge the battery pack faster when you’re charging it at the Exponential Charge infrastructure — taking about 60 minutes if the e-pack is charging at a regular charging station, the company says. Similarly, e^ pumps do not provide the same rapid charge for all EVs, so the two must be weighed side by side. This is how Exponent seeks to monetize its energy offerings. He said he would generate revenue from both selling battery packs to OEMs and charging them frequently. Arun Vinayak, Founder and CEO of Exponent.
By comparison, Exponent’s business model is somewhat similar to Gogoro, the Taiwanese company partnering with OEMs to integrate their swappable batteries into electric two-wheelers while simultaneously building exchange stations around the country.
Beyond the monetization logic of including the battery pack and charging infrastructure as a package deal, Vinayak says it makes sense from a technological standpoint.
“15-minute fast charging is a two-sided problem,” Vinayak said. “It’s not just the battery, it’s also the charger. The e^pump delivers 600A of current to the e^pack (15x the industry standard), managing thermals including individual cell characteristics to ensure safety, long battery life and performance consistency even at 50 degrees Celsius. Our technology is on both sides, so we can manage energy flows efficiently, reliably and quickly.
It takes money to build such a network, which is where the Exponential Series A fits in. The round, led by Lightspeed along with YouNest VC, 3one4 Capital and AdvantEdge VC, will be used to grow the e^pump network. With 100 location points in each city, the exponent will start from Bengaluru and eventually make its way to New Delhi. Vinayak The company aims to deploy 2,000 Exponent-enabled vehicles through its partnership with Altgreen.
Vinayak says the E^pack is scalable in many ways, and Exponent Energy is currently in engineering stages in other segments, particularly three-wheeled passenger and four-wheeled cargo vehicles.
“Our primary focus is commercial vehicles and our primary customers are anyone from a single vehicle owner to anyone operating a fleet of 1000s of vehicles,” Vinayak told TechCrunch via email. “In India, commercial vehicles have the highest energy consumption per vehicle. (It is 10% of vehicles, but it consumes 70% of our energy on the road). With EVs driving better than their diesel counterparts, this segment represents a very concentrated market for an energy company like us. But the bottleneck to adoption is power, as slow charging (3 to 6 hours) affects operations. Therefore, customers are forced to choose larger batteries with a shorter life, thereby making vehicle ownership more expensive.