India's Exponent Energy may have discovered the secret to 15-minute EV fast charging – TechCrunch

Based in Bangalore Indicative energy they may have figured out a way to deliver 15-minute fast charging for electric vehicles. The startup, which just raised a $13 million Series A round, relies on a combination of its own battery and charging infrastructure to achieve such a feat.

Exponent Energy’s business model is aimed at OEMs building commercial electric vehicles for fleet purposes. Ideally, the company works with an OEM to integrate its battery pack, or e^pack, which can then be quickly charged via Exponent’s network of chargers or e^pumps. Earlier this month, Exponent announced its first partnership with Altigreen, an Indian electric cargo vehicle manufacturer, launching the Exponent-enabled Altigreen neEV HD, a three-wheeler that both companies say can be fully charged from 0% to 100% for 15 minutes.

The problem is that the battery only charges that quickly when it’s charged on Exponent’s charging infrastructure — if the e^pack were charged at a standard charging station, it would take about 60 minutes, according to the company. Likewise, e^pumps do not deliver equally fast charging to all EVs, so the two must be scaled side by side. Here’s how Exponent hopes to monetize its energy offerings. According to Arun Vinayak, Co-Founder and CEO of Exponent.

In comparison, Exponent’s business model is somewhat similar Gogoro modelthe Taiwanese company, which works with OEMs to integrate its swappable batteries into their electric two-wheelers, while building swap stations across the country.

Apart from the monetization logic of including the battery pack and charging infrastructure as a package deal, Vinayak says it makes sense to do this from a technology perspective.

“The 15-minute fast charge is a two-pronged issue,” Vinayak said. “It’s not just the battery, it’s the charger. The e^pump delivers 600A of current to the e^pack (15x industry standard) while managing individual cell characteristics, including thermal parameters, to ensure safety, long battery life and performance consistency even at 50 degrees Celsius. Because our technology is present on both sides, we are able to manage the flow of energy much more efficiently, safely and quickly.”

Building such a network will require funds, which is where Exponent’s Series A comes in. The round, which was led by Lightspeed with participation from YourNest VC, 3one4 Capital and AdvantEdge VC, will be used to expand the e^pump network to 100 location points in each city where Exponent expands, starting with Bengaluru and eventually account reaching New Delhi, according to Vinayak. The company also aims to deploy 2,000 Exponent-enabled vehicles as part of its partnership with Altigreen.

Vinayak said the e^pack is scalable across multiple form factors, and Exponent Energy is currently in the engineering phase for partnerships in other segments, specifically three-wheeled passenger vehicles and four-wheeled cargo vehicles.

“Our primary focus is commercial vehicles and our primary customer is anyone who operates a fleet, from a single vehicle owner to an aggregator of 1,000 vehicles,” Vinayak told TechCrunch via email. “In India, commercial vehicles have the highest age of energy consumption per vehicle. (It makes up 10% of vehicles, but consumes 70% of our energy on the road). This represents a highly concentrated market for an energy company like us, as the segment is already convinced to go electric as EVs drive better than their diesel counterparts. However, the reception bottleneck is power, as slow charging (3 to 6 hours) affects operations. Because of this, customers are forced to opt for large batteries with a short life, making car ownership expensive.”

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