Updated On: 20 May 2021 Dheeraj Nair
A Delhi-based EV Battery manufacturing startup, named Ipower Batteries reached an annual turnover of a staggering Rs.50 crore in the Financial Year 2020-2021 despite the pandemic. Like everyone else, we were wonderstruck as to what measure could have assisted to reach such an excellent financial target.
Interestingly, we did some research about the company which made things much clear than our initial vague understanding of its functioning. We then thought it would only be right if we share the news with you guys!
Ipower the Delhi-based EV battery maker basically manufactures and supplies lithium-ion battery packs for different Electric vehicle makers. This includes companies like Okinawa Autotech, Gemopai, Ampere Electric and Benling. In addition to this, the startup provides services to the top 20 EV two-wheeler manufacturers in India. As a matter of fact, this Delhi Based startup- Ipower makes lithium-ion batteries for somewhere close to 100 OEMs of two, three and four-wheeler vehicles. The company also stated that they make unique battery packs based on the manufacturers' specific requirements.
"In the EV segment, we began our journey in 2011 supplying lead-acid batteries to OEMs making low-speed two-wheelers like Hero Electric and their retailers and distributors across India. However, we stopped making them because lead is a serious health and environmental hazard as well. In the past three years, we have switched gears from lead-acid to the more efficient lithium-ion, for which we have an in-house government approved R&D laboratory.
"There we design and develop the battery technology best suited for the Indian environment, geography, [high temperature] climates and consumer requirements such as seeking greater mileage and cost efficiency,"says Vikas Aggarwal, Founder and Managing Director of Ipower.
This Delhi based startup imports battery cells from China, Japan and South Korea, However, the rest is designed and built by Ipower at their R&D facility. The experience they have gained in the past 3 years is just mind-blowing if you see it in person.
Made in India EV Batteries:
It was not so long ago when Ipower actually part ways with its parent company named Computech Systems, which makes UPS systems, batteries, laptop chargers and the list of products goes on. However, Ipower branched away from the usual products and started making EV batteries which Mr. Aggrawal was keen on and looking forward to.
He adds, "This transition to EVs began in 2011, although we were still focussed on Computech Systems as well. Until last April, Ipower was a subsidiary of Computech. Today, they are separate companies with Ipower completely focussing on making lithium battery packs for EV startups and companies."
"So, I took up the trading of lead-acid batteries for OEMs in a very nascent Indian EV market. The objective wasnt merely to make money but add value to the country by reducing vehicular pollution, massive import bills from buying fossil fuels from foreign nations, etc,"
"Growing up, I also had a fascination for EVs and always wanted to get into this business in India," says Mr Vikas Aggarwal.
By now, the company has turned its fascination into innovation which has resulted in it being the most popular EV startups that sell battery packs for OEMs in the country. The batter packs which are made in India come with advanced tracking, remote monitoring, battery immobilization, cooling control systems and many more features which is why it has become popular among the EV industries.
The battery packs are manufactured at their facility in Haryana which happens to be 50,000 square feet big. They have a research and development infrastructure that helps them validate their products.
"Our facility can manufacture about 500 battery packs per day, although we are presently making about 200 battery packs. Since the onset of the pandemic, a lot of consumers are shifting away from public transport to private vehicles. There is a huge demand from EV startups and companies for batteries," says Vikas.
Continue reading to know how this Delhi-based EV Battery maker pulled it off during the pandemic.
How they make EV Batteries:
According to Vikas, The battery cells are first graded and sorted according to their voltage capacity and internal resistance. The next step involves them making a module for the battery pack. Spot-welding has been selected for efficiency. After they spot-weld the inner structure of the module, they then solder it with BMS and then a soft pack is made. Vikas stated that all the battery packs are then tested for quality.
Now that the soft packs are ready, they then conduct the final assembly after which the packs are enclosed with metal, aluminium or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene a non-conductive high impact resistant thermo-plastics)
And finally, they cover with fireproof materials and such sorts, as per the requirement of the EV manufacturers.
Challenges during COVID-19:
"We struggled to find people with the necessary technical expertise to develop the right sort of product. We had hired some skilled personnel from overseas to help train our workforce. We also sent our team to visit international battery factories to learn how to make high-quality battery packs. Through all this, the workforce also learnt how to make the right sort of product keeping in mind cost optimisation, safety and range," he says.
Last year, in the month of March, the Central Government of India decided to enter the first lockdown period due to the pandemic which had a significant impact on the business. The sales went down by 60 per cent according to the maker, However, the company did not lose hope and kept the sheer will to keep the business from taking a bad toll. They focused more on research and Development until the situation was under control. This strategy of the company worked since they were able to bounce back on their feet and reach the sales figures which they acquired even before the pandemic.
The company also did not consider the option to lay off its 200 employees. According to Vikas, the employees and most importantly the company ensured safety. There was enough space to maintain social distancing and all employees wore masks. Further, the company set up COVID-19 testing camps in their plant. The testing was also done free of cost too.
It is at this juncture that we realised Innovation takes shape not only with creativity but also with sheer willpower to execute an idea under tough market conditions.
What do you think about this Delhi-based EV battery maker and their business strategy? Please tell us your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, join our 91Wheels Telegram group to know more about vehicles, conduct discussions on your favourite ride and much more!
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