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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Exponent Energy gets $13M to scale up charging network for electric vehicles

Electric vehicle startup Exponent Energy has secured $13 million in funding. Among other things, the money will used to scale up the charging network to 100 points per city.  The company says its technology will reduce the time taken to charge an electric vehicle from three hours to 15 minutes.

Exponent Energy, an electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging startup, announced a $13 million funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with existing institutional investors including YourNest VC, 3one4 Capital, and AdvantEdge VC also participating. This is Lightspeed’s first investment in the electric vehicle market.

Exponent Energy claims to have developed a technology that can fully charge a vehicle in 15 minutes, which is significantly less than the standard time of at least three hours.

 Exponent’s battery pack must be installed in EVs to ensure rapid charging, and the end user can charge the vehicle using Exponent’s own charging stations. In Bengaluru, the company currently operates 30 such charging stations. The funds raised will be used to expand the charging network to 100 points per city, beginning with Bengaluru, to streamline battery pack production, and to bring more exponent-enabled EVs to market.

The startup’s primary focus is commercial vehicles, and it recently partnered with EV manufacturer Altigreen to install its battery pack in one of their vehicles. These battery packs are constructed using standard industry cells.

 Arun Vinayak, cofounder and CEO of Exponent Energy, said, “We will operate the only profitable charging network in the world. You have to sell more energy on a plot of land, which is a high-tech problem involving the construction of a battery, a charging network, and ensuring that energy throughput is optimised.” The current slow-charging stations, according to Vinayak, are inefficient because they take up valuable real estate for three to four hours, raising the total cost to the end user to Rs 20 to 24 per unit of electricity.

Exponent claims that its solutions can reduce costs to Rs 12-15 per unit.

 “Rapid charging completely changes the economics of a charging station,” he explained.

Typically, a battery pack can only be charged 1,000 times before its health deteriorates and its range decreases. Exponent claims that its battery pack can withstand 3,000 charging cycles without harming the user’s health.

The company will generate revenue from two sources: selling battery packs to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and its charging network. “For us, Exponent is thinking through all the filters that we think are critical,” said Harsha Kumar, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.

First, a GTM (go-to-market) strategy that focuses on commercial vehicles; second, fast charging as a proposition – which we thought was critical for the segment; and third, affordability, which means that if you offer this product, it cannot be significantly more expensive than what is currently available.”

The slow-charging model popular in the West will not work in India due to multiple pain points, according to Kumar. This includes a lack of parking in public places as well as in residences.

Many commercial vehicle owners park their vehicles in front of their homes, and stopping a vehicle in the middle of the day to charge for three to four hours will reduce revenue for these users.


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