18 Jan 2021 17:34 IST

A Pure electric play

EPluto 7G

IIT Hyderabad incubated start-up is geared up for forward and backward integration with EVs

Barely into its fifth summer, the IIT Hyderabad-incubated PurEnergy has made rapid strides — first designing and developing high-performance lithium ion batteries and, thereafter, manufacturing electric scooters.

Its big plans now include a phased investment of ₹500 crore to scale up and expand, set up a greenfield plant and launch its first electric motorcycle by March-April. Pure EV, an electric vehicle vertical of the start-up, has set up a 70,000 sqft factory. IITH’s R&D facilities and technological support have helped PurEnergy grow from strength to strength. After two years of incubation the project went commercial.

It received a shot in the arm after raising ₹25 crore equity from VC Nannapaneni, Chairman and Managing Director, Natco Pharma, in his personal capacity. This placed the start-up’s valuation at about $35 million.

 

Nishant Dongari, founder, and (right) Rohit Vadera, CEO, Pure EV

 

 

It all started in 2015-16 with Dr Nishanth Dongari, Founder, Pure EV, and Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, IITH, incubating a project to focus on battery management systems and, later, integrated battery back-up solar installations. Thereafter, it developed advanced lithium ion batteries to meet its own requirements.

Says Dongari, “The inspiration came from the user experiences of EV two-wheeler clients and their dissatisfaction with key aspects, especially the battery... the products’ range, speed and lifecycle, and/or that they were too expensive compared with conventional bikes.”

IIT days

Rohit Vadera, CEO, Pure EV, has known Dongari since their IIT Mumbai days, where they both wanted to do something impactful for society. As a forward integration project, they decided to focus on developing lithium ion batteries and electric two-wheelers.

“Pure has achieved 6x year-on-year growth over the last two years in the EV two-wheeler segment, although we have made a relatively late entry into the market. This has been possible due to our vision, R&D centre at IITH, global supply chain and after-sales service. We believe the battery technology and our products are our brand ambassadors,” Dongari explains.

From ideation in 2018, they managed to roll out their electric scooter — designed in-house and assembled at a factory located inside the 600-acre IITH campus, about 50 km from Hyderabad.

“We plan to invest ₹500 crore over three years in a manufacturing facility near Hyderabad,” Vadera says. In the works is a 20-acre site with annual manufacturing capacity of one lakh electric two-wheelers.

“We now have a capacity to make 3,000 two-wheeler EVs and 10 megawatt-hour lithium ion battery assembly line. Pure EV has an annualised turnover of ₹100 crore and is cash-flow positive,” elaborates Vadera.

BaTRics Faraday

The company recently developed an AI system — named BaTRics Faraday System — that automatically resolves defects in lithium ion batteries, a major pain point for EV owners and service centres.

All five Pure EV models — Epluto 7g, Etrance Neo, Etrance, Egnite and Etron+ — have been tested with the AI system, which will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2021. The company, with 100 outlets, plans to expand pan-India and beyond, in Nepal and Sri Lanka among other countries.

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