Murugappa Group's Montra Electric joins forces with Exponent Energy for 15-minute charging e-three-wheelers

Murugappa Group’s EV brand to integrate Exponent’s proprietary battery pack e^pack into its line of electric three-wheelers; Montra Electric will launch the fast-charging EV in early 2024

By Ajit Dalvi & Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 21 Sep 2023 Views icon9707 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Montra Electric, the EV brand of the Chennai-based Murugappa Group’s TI Clean Mobility, and Exponent Energy, an energy-tech startup, have announced a partnership to develop rapid charging electric vehicles in the three-wheeler segment in India.

Montra Electric will launch a rapid charging three-wheeler variant which will be equipped with Exponent’s 8.8 kWh e^pack and will achieve a 0 to 100% charge in 15 minutes at Exponent’s e^pump charging network, while also having the ability to be slow charged at home. Exponent's e^pack comes with a 3000-cycle life warranty even with 100% rapid charging. This technology was independently validated by TUV India (TUV Nord Group, Germany) which reported only 13% degradation after 3000 cycles of rapid charging.

The Murugappa Group had diversified into the electric-wheeler market a year ago. In September 2022, Montra Electric launched its first three-wheeler passenger carrier. The brand is expected to launch its electric cargo three-wheeler by early 2024, targeting both individual as well as institutional customer requirements.

Montra Electric rolled out its first three-wheeler, a passenger model, in September 2022. 

Exponent Energy’s proprietary energy stack (battery pack – e^pack, charging station – e^pump, and connector – e^plug) are aimed to solve two key challenges with 15-minute rapid charging: Lithium plating and extreme heat. The company’s proprietary BMS and charging algorithms ensure minimal lithium plating resulting in the e^pack’s long life. To tackle extreme heat, the company has innovated with the world’s first ‘water-based’ offboard thermal management system using an advanced HVAC system in the e^pump.

Kalyan Kumar Paul, Managing Director, TI Clean Mobility, said: “This will be a key enabler in the electric adoption journey.”

Commenting on the partnership, Sushant Jena, Head, Montra Electric 3W Division said, “We are excited to partner with Exponent Energy to offer 15-minute rapid charging option to our customers. It’s a perfect fit in our product proposition, addressing the range anxiety of our customers who are looking to do more trips everyday.”

LEVERAGING PARTNER STRENGTHS

The partnership between Montra Electric and Exponent Energy will leverage the strengths and expertise of both entities. Montra Electric currently has a presence of about 40 showrooms spread across South India and is expanding rapidly into other parts of the country by the end of FY2024. The company states that it “is also coming up with more variants of products suiting the wide spectrum of customer requirements.”

Elaborating on the partnership, Arun Vinayak, co-founder and CEO, Exponent Energy said: “It’s a privilege to be partnering with Montra Electric to rapidly electrify last-mile mobility. With their strength in vehicle design, manufacturing, distribution, and financing with our focus on energy tech and rapid charging network, we will together launch zero compromise EVs. Fifteen-minute rapid charging kills charging anxiety and is crucial to delivering uptime and flexibility in operations needed for last-mile mobility. Customers will enjoy the same level of freedom as ICE vehicles, while reaping all the advantages of going electric.”

Exponent, which has launched commercial operations in Bengaluru with over 30 e^pumps, plans to expand operations in five more cities – Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Ahmedabad – by end-2023. The company plans to deploy 1,000 e^pumps and power 25,000 EVs with its technology by 2025.

 

LOOKING TO CAPITALISE ON FAST-GROWING THREE-WHEELER MARKET

While two-wheelers are always the ones grabbing the headlines in the EV industry, the real growth is seen in their three-wheeled brethren. India’s EV industry’s fast-paced growth can be seen in the fact that at 10,27,502 units, cumulative sales in the first nine-and-a-half months of CY2023 have already surpassed CY2022’s record 1.024 million units across the two-, three-, four-wheeler and commercial vehicle segments.

The biggies in terms of EV market share are the two ‘low-hanging fruits’ of the industry and the more affordable segments compared to electric cars, goods carriers or buses. While electric two-wheelers (552,439 units) account for 57.19% of the total EV sales in the January-August 2023 period, three-wheelers (356,837 units) have a 37% share of the India EV pie. The e-three-wheeler retail sales are a sterling 77.59% better than the year-ago 200,924 units. This sub-segment, which sells passenger-transporting e-rikshaws and cargo-carrying three-wheelers, continues to witness strong double-digit growth thanks to sustained demand for passenger transportation and from last-mile operators for e-commerce applications, food deliveries and other applications. The Murugappa Group and its EV arm Montra Electric, in association with Exponent Energy, are clearly looking to capitalise on the growth opportunity.  

ALSO READ: India has over 2.8 million EVs on its roads, Central and South India dominate EV ownership

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