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Monday, May 29, 2023

BrightBlu turns parking spots into charging stations to ease EV owners’ life

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BrightBlu, a Mumbai-based firm founded in 2019, provides EV charging solutions to OEMs, distributors, and charge point operators.

India has set an ambitious goal of being a 100 percent electric-vehicle nation by 2030, but the charging infrastructure is currently a big problem for the EV ecosystem. One of the biggest reasons Indian customers do not choose electric automobiles is a lack of charging stations. The Mumbai-based startup’s goal is to turn each public or private parking space into a charging station.

BrightBlu has developed a system for charging electric vehicles at home, offices, and public places such as shopping malls, hotels, and restaurants. As of now, the business has sold around 1,000 chargers to customers such as OEMs, distributors, and charge point operators.

BrightBlu manufactures alternating current (AC) wall boxes for charging EVs that may be put in homes, offices, and public places such as shopping malls, hotels, and restaurants.

The business says it can convert any parking lot into a charging station.

The business has created a few patented technologies that will avoid local grid or connection overloading and balance the available power on a specific connection over numerous charges. The business has also created technologies to avoid costly grid improvements.

To install multiple chargers in certain areas, the grid connection is insufficient—rather than a costly grid update, the available power may be divided according to demand among numerous chargers, saving money.

The solution is based on the IEC 62196-2 protocol, commonly known as type-2 and mode 3, where type 2 refers to the plug type and mode 3 refers to the communications protocol between the car and the charger.

This is mostly used in Europe and has recently gained popularity in India. The charge control unit is a printed circuit board that is part of the hardware.

It is an Internet of Things device, which is a smart card with a charger that handles connection with the vehicle, the grid, and the backend.

This unit is made in India, and less than 5% of the raw materials are obtained from China, with the remainder sourced locally.

Building a worldwide company from India

Aside from the technology, BrightBlu’s product is designed and manufactured in India, allowing the firm to take advantage of the pricing advantage. The firm offers three types of chargers: a 7w charger for Rs 49,000, an 11w charger for Rs 56,000, and a 22w charger for Rs 56,000.

Wybren explains, “BrightBlu’s pricing is less than that of a company that makes AC chargers in China and distributes them to India via Europe, where import customs and shipping fees are incurred. BrightBlu distinguishes out because the firm is comparable in terms of quality and more flexible since we control the technology; we can change as needed; and we are less expensive.”

To mention a few, the firm competes with huge corporations such as ABB India, Delta Electronics, and Mass-Tech.

“We believe India is in a good position to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and electric transportation.” This is quite exciting for us as we construct this firm to have a worldwide effect at scale.

Moreover, Wybren notes, “building a global business out of India is an intriguing concept that spurred the formation of BrightBlu.” But, according to Wybren, the firm is also encountering some hurdles.

The first is needing to develop the technology from the ground up, which he claims is more challenging than acquiring components.

The second most difficult hurdle has been developing hardware in a software-heavy ecosystem.

India is well-known for its software development and has a favorable business climate.

However, when it comes to hardware, Wybren claims that the country lacks a solid ecosystem, and competing on a worldwide scale becomes difficult if quality is lacking. This is why we’re banking on it, although it has undoubtedly been one of the most difficult difficulties thus far,” Wybren says.

The business and the market

ICRA Research predicts that EV penetration in India would rise over the next five years, particularly in the electric two-wheeler, three-wheeler, and e-bus categories.

According to the EPA, expanding charging infrastructure will be vital to achieving robust EV uptake.

There are currently less than 2,000 public charging stations in India, with the majority concentrated in a few states, particularly in metropolitan areas.

With an expenditure of Rs 14,000 crore, the country hopes to install around 48,000 chargers in the next three to four years. According to the co-founders, India accounts for around 80% of BrightBlu’s income, while Europe accounts for approximately 20%.

This year, the business also received $1.6 million from Dutch sustainable energy producer Koolen Industries.

On an operational level, the firm claims to be making money by selling chargers, but it promises to be profitable within the next two years.

BrightBlu intends to establish a research and development center in Pune this year, as well as to make Pune its headquarters.

It is also opening an office in the Netherlands to help with sales in the European market. With a workforce of five workers, including the founders, the firm aims to hire another 10 to 15 people if operations are expanded to Pune.

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