Electric vehicles are going to be the future. For sure. Baby steps right now are being taken to ensure the infrastructure falls in place before the mass acceptance begins. For this very reason, many companies that set-up charging stations are coming to the fore. For example, Enercent, a Bengaluru-based company has been making in-roads into setting up EV infrastructure. The company claims that it is at present the fastest and largest privately operated EV charging solutions company in India and seeks to further expand operations with aggressive momentum. Through some novel and emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and ML and an intelligent cloud system, the company aspires to orchestrate its entire EV operations. It also seeks to incorporate and implement blockchain-based smart contracts for piloting in the near future. While its operations were predominantly restricted to just Bengaluru, the company is now going to set shop in other states as well. This and other details were revealed by G.A. Bhargava, the CEO of Enercent in a conversation with Express Drives.
G.A.Bhargava (GA): The name Enercent is a portmanteau of “Energy” and “Incentive”. The idea was born in mid-2018 when we applied the existing domain knowledge surrounding energy towards an opportunity to scale India’s smart grid using disruptive innovation and new-age business models. We then set our vision to incentivise smarter energy practices by abstracting the complexities for running end to end solutions on a “Pay per Watt” unit metrics.
GA: Initially, Enercent’s founders and advisors bootstrapped the company with 1.1 crore. We also bootstrapped another 40 lakhs of revenue into R&D. We now hold substantial revenues and are growing exponentially in usage, billing and profitability.
GA: We work with multiple partners for the charging infrastructure. Enercent offers a standard (Bharat 2 AC/DC) for the opex model. For non-standard chargers (e.g. some 2W/3W, we procure them from the OEMs of the vehicles. All the chargers connect to Enercent Cloud using our Hardware and Software @ Edge-level IoT. That’s our main hardware at every location. Our IoT Hardware connects with up to 32 Chargers at a single location.
GA: If the customer/operator chooses standard Enercent Electrical SLD (Architecture), installing a set of upto 32 charging stations typically takes 3-4 days. If it requires customisation, we typically carry it out within 1-2 weeks.
GA: Enercent supports both fast and slow charging. We are somewhat agnostic to vehicles and their chargers. Our IoT hardware is built to work with Level-3 DC chargers. So when our customers move to fast and super charging, it’s just the charger that is changed, the underlying electrical architecture and the working principle remains the same.
GA: We have witnessed the growth first-hand and are bullish on the EV market from the push by the government and regulators. We currently have 400+ charging stations (for 2W and 3W) in Bangalore and are setting up a total of 1440 more charging stations across five cities in India by Q3 2020. This will complete our phase-1 delivery for a large e-commerce player and exclusively for their usage. We are also working with regional partners to offer shared infra for other “last mile delivery” companies and consumers. We expect to end 2020 with 2000+ charging points. We anticipate that in the year 2021, B2B models will exponentially grow their EVs and also hope the consumer EV market too, catches up.
GA: As of now all our charging stations are privatised for a closed user group. We also procure energy from utilities with incentivised prices that we pass-on to our B2B customers. For public charging, our existing model is to add variables such as parking charges, time of the day (peak/non-peak), and recovering the cap-ex on chargers. So, the cost per unit will naturally be higher than the rate at which it is procured. However, it would prove to be more competitive and an economical choice than procuring chargers by themselves.
GA: Enercent EV charging SLD (Architecture) was developed for the utmost possible safety and reliability. We have introduced multiple protection layers to isolate incidents. All standard chargers installed by Enercent are from Tier-1 OEMs and feature all the necessary certifications. In that regard it is somewhat different for non-standard Chargers that are supplied by 2W/3W OEMs. Our IoT hardware on premises ensures that these non-standard chargers do not damage the warehouse’s electrical line/assets.
GA: I think the Indian market is always ready for the right product and the consumer demand too thankfully enough, has moved from “cheap” to “better & reliable” in a variety of things including smartphones. With the right technology (like fast charging for 2W/3W) and specs (exceeding the usual range, like how Tesla did) the Indian 2W and 3W market will definitely move towards embracing EVs and might top 10 million by 2025. For B2Bs (last-mile delivery), EVs already have a registered record of a better RoI and lower TCO (total cost of ownership).
GA: We will be activating state of the art EV charging points in the states of Telangana, Maharashtra and Delhi-NCR , in the same order, over the next 2 months. We expect by the end of 2021 to be operating across 26 cities, through our B2B customers.
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