Former Tesla engineer-designed battery at Bengaluru startup gets European order

PTI, Apr 10, 2022, 10:13 AM IST

In a boost to domestic manufacturing, one of the world’s most energy-dense batteries designed by a former Tesla engineer for a Bengaluru-based battery startup has been picked up by a European renewable energy company, Eren Groupe, for its storage applications, the startup’s co-founder said on Sunday.

The development has opened up possibilities for use of these batteries in EVs and solar projects in India, the co-founder said.

The battery is the critical component of an electric vehicle and the run it gives on a full charge as well as the time is taken to charge it dictates the success of the green vehicle.

It is also critical in solar power projects as energy from the sun is not available throughout the day and on all days, thereby requiring storage.

Eren Group – promoted by the pioneer of solar power Paris Mouratoglou, will acquire a 54MWh battery from Pravaig, said Siddhartha Bagri, who founded Pravaig with Dhawal Vinkay Khullar.

”We have been working on a prototype of an EV for the last decade and during the pursuit developed a highly dense, fast-charging battery,” he said, adding it takes just half an hour to fully charge the battery.

Also, it’s being highly dense means it gives more power per atom, proving to be cost-effective when compared with alternatives such as sodium-ion or aluminum air.

”After 11 years of research and development, we now make one of the most energy-dense batteries globally for automotive applications, up to 180 Wh per kg,” said co-founder Ram Divide.

”Pravaig batteries have a critically fast response time of up to 1 minute, and are built as per European automotive safety standards.” Pravaig batteries are built for the toughest conditions in the world, i.e. the Indian roads.

It is utilizing its battery expertise for large-scale storage solutions for use in renewables integration and large-scale back-up to replace diesel generators.

These modular batteries pack 3.2 MWh in a standard 20 feet container and give a power of 1.5 MW for two hours. The life of these batteries is 20 years of daily use.

”These batteries are completely designed, engineered, and Made in India. The chief battery engineer of Pravaig is Anirudh Vijaykumar, who previously worked as a senior product engineer for Applied Materials where he made semiconductor factory lines, and senior battery engineer at Tesla in their nascency within a very small team of 12 making the batteries for Model S, X, 3 and their Energy Storage Systems,” he said.

Indian automobile space is now flooded with two, three, and four-wheeler EVs but the near zero-emitting vehicles have not yet picked up in a big way mostly due to battery issues.

Also, the who’s who of corporate India – from billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani to state-owned firms – have announced renewable energy projects as well as battery solutions. And Pravaig’s battery solution opens new possibilities for them.

One of the largest European renewables companies, Eren Groupe is promoted by Paris Mouratoglou, the pioneer of solar power who kickstarted the solar power industry with the first commercial solar in 1974.

As Independent Power Producers, the group has more than 2.2 GW of solar power in India with their JV partners.

More importantly, they have various technologies for India, unified under the banner of Ekniti India Pvt Ltd.

In a letter to Union Power Minister R K Singh, Mouratoglou said the batteries made by Pravaig ”are at par if not better with the best of the global technologies.” ”Ekniti will continue to work with Pravaig and government bodies to bring India’s power infrastructure,” he added. Pravaig is the only company in India making large-scale energy storage systems. The annual production capacity is 2 GWh from their Bengaluru facility.

They also provide battery solutions to defense and automotive with an annual production capacity of 500 MWh for those critical applications.

Started in 2011, Pravaig is a deep tech company that is building world-class products from the ground up and is targeting the global opportunity of making 2 billion EVs in the next 2 decades, Bagri added.

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