Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining popularity in India and around the world, thanks to their environmental and economic benefits. However, one of the major challenges that EV users face is the long charging time and the limited availability of charging stations. A Bengaluru-based startup, Exponent Energy, claims to have a solution for this problem.
What is Exponent Energy?
Exponent Energy is a startup founded in 2018 by Arun Vinayak and Sanjay Byalal, who were former executives at Ather Energy, a leading e-scooter maker in India. The startup has developed a proprietary technology called Flexible Energy Stack (FES), which enables ultra-fast charging of EV batteries in 15 minutes or less.
How does FES work?
FES consists of two components: E-pack and E-pump. E-pack is a modular battery pack that can be customized for different EV segments, such as two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers. E-pump is a smart charger that can communicate with the E-pack and the grid to optimize the power flow and the charging efficiency.
The FES technology uses lithium-ion cells that have high power density and low internal resistance, which allow them to charge and discharge quickly without compromising their lifespan. The FES technology also employs advanced algorithms and thermal management systems to monitor and control the battery temperature, voltage, current, and state of charge during the charging process.
What are the benefits of FES?
According to Exponent Energy, FES offers several advantages over conventional EV charging methods, such as:
- Reduced charging time: FES can charge an EV battery from 0 to 100 percent in 15 minutes or less, compared to several hours required by normal chargers.
- Increased battery life: FES can extend the battery life by up to 50 percent by preventing overcharging, overheating, and degradation.
- Lower cost: FES can reduce the cost of EV ownership by eliminating the need for frequent battery replacement and maintenance.
- Higher convenience: FES can enable EV users to charge their vehicles at any location where there is a power supply, such as petrol pumps, parking lots, or roadside shops.
- Greater sustainability: FES can support the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid by providing demand response and load balancing services.
What are the challenges of FES?
While FES sounds promising, it also faces some challenges that need to be addressed before it can be scaled up and commercialized. Some of these challenges are:
- Regulatory hurdles: FES needs to comply with the existing and emerging standards and regulations for EV charging infrastructure in India and other markets. For instance, FES needs to ensure interoperability with other chargers and vehicles, safety and security of data and transactions, and quality and reliability of power supply.
- Technical barriers: FES needs to overcome some technical barriers such as electromagnetic interference, grid stability, and cyberattacks that may affect its performance and functionality. For instance, FES needs to ensure that its wireless communication does not interfere with other devices or networks, that its power flow does not cause voltage or frequency fluctuations in the grid, and that its data and transactions are protected from unauthorized access or manipulation.
- Market acceptance: FES needs to gain market acceptance from various stakeholders such as EV manufacturers, consumers, utilities, regulators, and investors. For instance, FES needs to demonstrate its value proposition, competitive edge, scalability potential, and profitability potential to attract customers and partners.
What is the future of FES?
Exponent Energy has already secured some customers and partners for its FES technology. For example, it has partnered with Altigreen, an EV cargo company, to provide its E-packs and E-pumps for its fleet of electric three-wheelers. It has also received funding from Shell Foundation, an impact investor that supports clean energy solutions.
The startup plans to expand its network of charging stations across India, starting with Bengaluru. It aims to install 100 location points per city in the next two years. It also plans to enter other markets such as Southeast Asia and Africa in the future.
Exponent Energy believes that its FES technology can revolutionize the EV charging industry by providing a fast, convenient, affordable, and sustainable solution for EV users. However, it also acknowledges that it has to overcome some challenges and prove its technology at scale before it can achieve its vision.