According to the World Economic Forum, one in every seven cars globally is an electric vehicle (EV). However, in India, only one in every 219 vehicles is electric, with a total of 1.6 million electric vehicles out of 351 million vehicles as of February 2023. To match the global average, India would need to increase its EV count by over 30 times. The lack of domestic battery production and charging infrastructure contributes to the slow adoption of EVs in India. Log9 Materials, a startup, is attempting to address these issues by establishing India’s first lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility and enabling the installation of charging stations across the country. Their efforts serve as a blueprint for other startups in the industry.
The cost of an electric vehicle (EV) is largely attributed to its battery pack, with 40 to 50 percent of the total cost. Importing batteries from China further increases the price. While Indian battery manufacturers assemble cells within the country, the cells themselves are manufactured outside of India. China dominates global cell manufacturing, as it possesses significant lithium reserves, a valuable metal required for batteries. India, on the other hand, has yet to extract its own lithium reserves. Initial estimates suggest India has 5.9 million tonnes of lithium, ranking it sixth globally. However, it will take several years, possibly a decade, to unearth and process this lithium. Until then, India heavily relies on lithium imports for EV batteries.
Currently, Log9 is the only Indian company capable of manufacturing EV cells domestically, but they import raw materials and optimize the batteries for India’s tropical conditions. Log9’s primary focus is on manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for three-wheelers, which present a substantial EV opportunity.
Log9’s batteries, such as the RapidX 2000 and RapidX 8000, are AIS156 certified and incorporate advanced titanium-based nanoparticles, making them safer than conventional lithium-ion cells. Log9 has gained a significant market share in India’s electric three-wheeler battery market, with clients like Omega Seiki Mobility, Grevol, 3eco, and Quantum Energy. They are also venturing into the two-wheeler segment, partnering with Quantum Energy for rapid-charging bikes. Additionally, Log9 is innovating in the LFP battery segment, which provides a superior range and is suitable for three-wheelers. They plan to deploy over 4000 EVs in major cities and have established partnerships with companies like Hala Mobility, FAE Bikes, and Whizzy Logistics.
India has 11,000 public charging stations compared to the United States’ 130,000, despite having fewer electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. This means there is one charging station for every 23 EVs in the US and one for every 199 EVs in India. The reason for this disparity is business cannibalism, as companies often struggle to work together due to their own interests. InstaCharge, a platform similar to Google Maps for EVs, aims to address this issue. It allows charge point operators (CPOs) to list their charging locations, enabling EV drivers, CPOs, and fleet operators to collaborate seamlessly. InstaCharge also facilitates easy and instant payments through QR codes and UPI-based methods.
Log9, has formed a significant partnership with Amara Raja Batteries, which owns 15.4% of Log9 and provides industry expertise and connections. Log9’s batteries are used by various businesses, including EKA, Indeanta Ventures, Lets Transport, FYN Mobility, 3ev, and 3eco. Log9 aims to address the challenge of expensive electric vehicles (EVs) and battery replacement costs by offering unlimited kilometer warranties and assured buy-back options for their batteries. Log9 has also entered the realm of EV financing through partnerships with Three Wheels United and Eqaro. Additionally, Log9 focuses on ecosystem infrastructure, including battery maintenance, charging stations (InstaCharge), fleet partnerships, and vehicle financing. They have also developed stationary storage batteries using their advanced aluminum fuel cell (AFC) technology under the brand name ZappUp to ensure an uninterrupted power supply. In terms of financials, Log9 was valued at $250 million during its Series B funding round in January 2023, with notable investors such as Amara Raja Batteries, Petronas Ventures, Exfinity Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.
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