Electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging startup Exponent Energy said it has raised $13 million in funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with existing institutional investors such as YourNest VC, 3one4 Capital & AdvantEdge VC.
This is Lightspeed’s first investment in the EV space. Exponent Energy has developed technology that it claims will fully charge a vehicle in 15 minutes, far less than the normal time – at least three hours – it takes to fully charge.
The amount raised will be used to expand the charging network to 100 points per city, starting from Bengaluru, streamline battery pack manufacturing and provide more EVS-enabled exponents.
Exponent Energy focuses on commercial vehicles and recently partnered with electric car manufacturer Altigreen to install its battery pack in one of their vehicles. These batteries are made from common cells used in industry.
Typically, a battery can only be recharged 1000 times before its health starts to decrease and its range decreases. The exponent claims that its battery can perform 3,000 charge cycles without affecting health.
To ensure fast charging, EV manufacturers must install an Exponent battery pack in their vehicles, and the end user can charge the vehicle using their own Exponent charging stations. Currently, the company operates 30 such charging stations in Bengaluru.
The company will have two revenue streams — one from selling battery packs to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the other from its charging network.
Arun Vinayak, Co-founder and CEO of Exponent Energy, said, “We will operate the only profitable charging network in the world. “ou have to sell more energy on land, which is a deeply technological problem in terms of building the battery, the charging network and ensuring the energy throughput.”
Vinayak further added, “The current slow charging stations are inefficient as they take up valuable real estate for three to four hours, adding up to INR 20 to INR 24 per unit of electricity in total for the end user. Exponent claims its solutions can reduce costs to INR 12-15 per unit. “Fast charging is revolutionizing charging station economics.”
Harsha Kumar, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said, “Exponent is thinking through all the filters for us that we think are key, Firstly, the GTM (go-to-market) which focuses on commercial vehicles, secondly fast charging as a proposition – which we felt was essential for the segment – and thirdly affordability, that means if this product you’re offering, it can’t be significantly more expensive than what’s out there.”
Kumar added, “The slow-charging model chosen in the West won’t work in India because of several pain points. These include a lack of public and residential parking. Many commercial vehicle owners tend to park their vehicles outside their homes and stopping the vehicle in the middle of the day to charge for three to four hours will have an impact on the income of these users.”