Exponent Energy Pvt Ltd, a start-up focused on developing fast charging technology for Electric Vehicles, has raised $5 million (around 37 crore) in a Pre-Series A funding round led by early-stage investor YourNest Venture Capital with participation from 3one4 Capital, AdvantEdge VC and Motherson Group, the company said.
It will use the funds to begin commercial operations and scale it across multiple cities starting with Bengaluru from early 2022; hire across product and engineering teams and double down on its software products.
“Motherson coming on board adds immense value to scale with respect to OEM relationships and manufacturing partnerships. Given the demand witnessed for our rapid charging technology in the logistics space, we prioritized closing the Pre-Series A to enter the market by early 2022.” Arun Vinayak co-founder and CEO said.
Founded by Ather Energy’s ex-CPO Arun Vinayak and Sanjay Byalal, his colleague at Ather Energy and a former Hindustan Unilever's supply chain and operations manager. Exponent Energy claims that its solution can unlock 15-minute rapid charging for EVs using regular lithium-ion cells while maintaining a charging cycle count of 3,000. It said this is possible due to their proprietary battery management system (BMS), charging algorithms and unique pack design.
Vinayak added today EVs take anywhere between 4 to 8 hours to charge with batteries that last ~1000 cycles, creating a broken energy ecosystem. "Long charge times lead to poor charging station utilization, making them unprofitable as a business, and leading to a scarce network presence. Slow charging leads to larger unoptimised batteries to combat range anxiety, making the vehicle bulky and expensive. A short battery life drives battery pack financing sky high further adding pressure to the end consumer and hampering EV adoption. Exponent aims to simplify this by making energy for EVs instantaneous and affordable."
Recently, the Ministry of Heavy Industries has initiated national flagship schemes such as FAME India II scheme, National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) and the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for automobile and auto components. These schemes are sanctioned by the government with a total outlay of Rs 54,038 crore.
Demand for electric charging stations in India has been on the rise with more automobile companies making forays into the EV segment. To cash in on the rising demand, companies like Reliance Industries and Tata Power, among others, have started installing charging stations aggressively. Some companies that invested in the EV sector in 2020 and this year include Ohm Mobility, aerial mobility firm The ePlane Company, and electric scooter manufacturer Ather Energy.
On Tuesday, electric two-wheeler mobility platform eBikeGo made its third acquisition.
Startsups in this space are also raising funds. Charge+Zone, an electric vehicle (EV) charging startup, this week raised $10 million (around Rs 75 crore) in a bridge funding round with the participation of Venture Catalysts; ElectricPe, which enables users to discover charging points, raised $3 million (Rs 225 crore) in a seed round led by Blume Ventures and Micelio Fund.
Ola Electric is also gearing up to launch its electric scooter range S1 and S1 Pro markets in global markets by 2022.
Meanwhile, YourNest VC is in the process of raising its third fund, VCCircle had reported early this year.
Recently, it invested in an equity management platform RuleZero, led a seed round funding for Argoid, an artificial intelligence-based streaming personalisation platform and another seed round investment in UptimeAI, an artificial intelligence-based predictive maintenance software provider for companies.