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Exponent Energy, based in India, introduces 15-minute charging for passenger three-wheelers.

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India is set to welcome an electric three-wheeler passenger vehicle that can charge from 0 to 100% in just 15 minutes. This launch is the result of a collaboration between auto manufacturer Omega Seiki Mobility and battery-tech startup Exponent Energy, and it aligns with India’s goal of electrifying 80% of its three-wheelers by 2030 to combat emissions.

The newly unveiled three-wheeler, named the Stream City Qik, comes with a price tag of $3,900 (324,999 Indian rupees) and was officially launched on Friday. It will be available for sale starting May 15 in Delhi and Bengaluru. Building upon the previous Omega Stream City model, the Qik is equipped with an 8.8kWh proprietary battery pack from Exponent Energy, providing a range of over 86 miles (126 kilometers). Notably, Exponent Energy’s charging technology enables a full battery charge in just 15 minutes when connected to the startup’s charging station, known as e^pump.

Exponent Energy currently operates 60 charging stations across six cities in India and aims to expand to 100 stations in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru by 2024, with a total of 1,000 stations planned by 2025. This expansion marks a significant move for Exponent Energy, which previously focused on providing rapid charging technology for cargo and fleet operations. However, with India’s passenger three-wheeler segment experiencing substantial growth, the collaboration with Omega Seiki presents new opportunities in this market.

The passenger three-wheeler segment in India has witnessed remarkable expansion, with over 45,000 vehicles sold in January alone. These vehicles are popular among gig workers who use them for ride-hailing services and package deliveries. Recognizing this trend, the Indian government has incentivized electric three-wheeler manufacturing and subsidized their sales to encourage adoption.

Exponent Energy’s technology, which includes lithium-ion batteries and an in-house battery management system, offers several advantages. Its charging stations can charge up to 20 to 30 vehicles daily, providing 10 times the efficiency of traditional EV charging stations. Moreover, with a cost of approximately $6,000 (500,000 Indian rupees) for setting up a charging station, Exponent Energy aims to address the infrastructure challenges associated with EV adoption in India.

Overall, the collaboration between Exponent Energy and Omega Seiki represents a significant step forward in India’s electric vehicle industry, catering to the growing demand for sustainable transportation solutions.

Omega Stream City Qik

Image Credits: Omega Seiki Mobility

“If you provide people with very rapid refueling capability, very rapid recharging capability, and a reliable and dense network, people actually stop worrying about range,” he explained.

Initially, the Stream City Qik will be available in Delhi and Bengaluru, with plans to expand to new cities later this year. Omega Seiki Mobility is also optimistic about introducing its rapid-charging three-wheeler to markets outside India once it gains sufficient traction.

“We can explore markets all across the globe. We are conducting tests in Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, and Africa,” said Uday Narang, the founder and chairman of Omega Seiki Mobility, in an interview with TechCrunch.

Omega Seiki Mobility, headquartered in New Delhi, has an annual production capacity of 20,000 vehicles, with three factories in North India and one in the eastern state of Jharkhand. On the other hand, Exponent Energy has a monthly capacity to manufacture 500 charging units, with plans to increase this to 3,000 by July-August.

Priced at $3,900 (324,999 Indian rupees), the Stream City Qik is competitively priced compared to other electric and gas-powered three-wheelers available in the Indian market. Vinayak and Narang emphasized that their aim is not to undercut competitors on pricing but rather to alleviate charging anxiety among three-wheeler drivers and potentially increase their monthly income by up to 30%.

Established in 2020, Exponent Energy has secured significant investments from key backers such as Eight Roads Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and TDK Ventures, totaling $44.4 million to date. The startup achieved an annual recurring revenue of $6 million in 2023 and aims to reach approximately $72 million by 2025. Additionally, it plans to deploy its charging technology on electric buses in India later this year.

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