Earlier this month, Benagluru-based electric mobility start-up, Pravaig Dynamics, unveiled its Extinction MKI luxury electric coupe with some eye-popping specifications.
The start-up claims that this two-door and four-seater electric car can run 504 km on a single charge (battery range). Powered by a 96 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Extinction MKI generates an output of 200 brake horsepower (bhp) with a top speed of 196 kmph. It can also accelerate from 0 to 100 kmph in just 5.4 seconds.
But the standout specification is the battery range of 504 km. To put this figure into context, the Tesla Model Y Long Range has a battery range of a little over 508 km, while the Hyundai Kona claims 452 km per full charge. In India, the MG ZS EV (of MG Motor) claims 340 km, while the recently launched Mercedes-Benz EQC stands at 350 km.
“Our battery pack is more than double the MG ZS EV (powered by a 44.5 kWh battery pack). During testing, we have seen this figure go above 600 km. We are certain of the 504 km range. Developing a battery management system for these specifications is a massive challenge, keeping consumer safety in mind. We have spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make it safe, long-lasting and at the lowest cost possible. The battery pack consists of 5,000 cells located on the floor of the car. Our batteries with an energy density of 155Wh/kg and backed by world-leading safety standards allows us to maintain a significant range,” says Siddhartha Bagri, co-founder of Pravaig Dynamics, speaking to The Better India.
Manufacturers can actually make existing electric vehicles (EVs) travel longer distances on a single charge, but the problem is their batteries get overworked. What these batteries need are better cooling systems. The trick lies in the design and execution of the cooling system, notes Prajnay Rajulu Boddepalli, who oversees prototyping and development at Pravaig.
“Technically, you can install a battery pack that allows you to reach these specifications, but what happens is you overwork the battery pack, which gets heated, and the subsequent fuse that cuts off energy supply. You need an efficient cooling system in design and execution to ensure your EV can hit those specifications. For now, we use an ‘active’ cooling system that enables heat exchange all along the length of the battery pack. We’re working on a couple of alternatives to this as well. But I am not at liberty to reveal more” says Prajnay.
The Bengaluru startup claims the range of 504 km on a single charge is achievable in ideal conditions. “Moreover, we can charge the battery pack from 0 to 80% in just 30 minutes. The lifecycle of the battery is about 10 lakh km,” adds Siddhartha.
Make in India, Business Model
Siddhartha claims that nearly 90% of the vehicle (by mass) is made in India.
“Of course, there are certain smaller high-value components we source from the best suppliers in the world, including those from Japan (not China). Having said that, Indian vendors need to catch up. There are two billion fossil fuel-driven cars that need to be replaced with EVs in the next 10-15 years. This offers massive head room for our vendors to enter the global supply chain in a major way and capture the market, with large swathes of the world transitioning to EVs. Unfortunately, there are certain components that we have to rely on foreign vendors. We need more ambitious vendors in India. We are currently educating vendors in the country and getting up to leading global metrics,” Siddhartha notes.
Another unique facet of Pravaig’s work on the Extinction EV is the adoption of 3D Printing.
“It’s a very expensive process on an industrial scale, but it saves up a lot of time in the innovation process. Usually, major global corporations adopt this expensive process on a commercial scale. It’s commendable that in the name of innovation, Pravaig has adopted 3D Printing. For any subsystem, companies often take four to five iterations before it is robust and sound enough for commercial use. 3D Printing saves that time because you don’t have to wait for your supplier to make those necessary adjustments,” says Prajnay.
Having said that, 3D printing is increasingly being explored across different areas of automotive production. Besides its standard use for rapid prototyping, this technology is also being utilised to produce tooling and, in certain cases, end parts as well.
But it’s the business model Pravaig Dynamics is proposing for the EV which could very well position the start-up for the future. According to this Evo India report, Pravaig will not sell the car to private individuals.
“Instead the company will lease the cars — along with a driver — to fleet operators. The thinking behind it is that to recover the initial purchase price of EVs the cars need to be run continuously and thus take advantage of low running costs. The 500km range is intended to see the car tackle multiple runs to the airport, in a city like Bengaluru for instance, and only needing to be charged overnight. Pravaig will also be installing chargers at the offices of the companies who have leased the car and their leasing costs will cover the cost of electricity consumed by the car,” the report states.
As the start-up notes in a recent press release, “A premium taxi, the vehicles are built just for one single application of being a taxi. Therefore, we can provide almost 40% reduced cost, versus comparable products with similar features.”
For The Future
However, it will not be the Extinction MKI that will become Pravaig’s first commercial offering. It’s imperative to note that this is a one-of-a-kind prototype that has laid the ground for Extinction MKII, a sedan.
Containing all the important technical specifications of the MKI, the MKII will see a series of significant upgrades for the end commuter experience, claims Pravaig.
So, why isn’t the Extinction MKII for sale to individual consumers? Today, our cities are rife with traffic congestion and intense vehicular pollution, a future that isn’t sustainable in the slightest. Making matters worse, according to a recent study by the Delhi-based environmental think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), “a car runs only for 400 hours on an average in a year, and is parked the rest of the time (8,360 hours or 95%).”
“Our objective is to ensure a person can commute from Point A to B most efficiently. Why do you want to care about what car I wanna buy, what charger do I use, how do I pay my EMI, maintenance costs, etc? For most car enthusiasts, the Extinction MKII may not offer the greatest satisfaction because it’s not for sale to individual customers. But we are transitioning into a time where car ownership recedes. Today, 90% of the populace in Indian cities need a car because they do not accommodate them otherwise. This future is very likely to change with greater emphasis on public transport and shared mobility. We are building the tools to transition into that future,” says Siddhartha.
“MKI is Pravaig’s way of exhibiting the technical capabilities we can develop, whereas the MKII will have higher ground clearance, four doors instead of two, 165 degrees recline for the passenger seat and other features. It will retain the major specifications of the MKI, but will have more upgrades for the best possible passenger experience globally” says Prajnay.
Slated for serial commercial production by Diwali next year, the start-up claims that they are well on course to deliver hundreds of new additional features, of which five standout:
Private Space: Along the lines of a limousine, this commercial vehicle will have a rollable tinted window dividing the front and rear seats, 12-inch mirrors and vanity lighting.
‘Office on Wheels’: With a desk that can accommodate a 15-inch laptop, power ports and two USB thunderbolt ports, commuters can work while they reach their offices.
‘Himalayan Air’: The Extinction MKII will have an indoor air filtration system that clears out PM 2.5 at a rate of 99%, alongside a CO2 filtration system, claims the startup.
‘Opera on Wheels’: Lowest power consumption with absolute clarity and bass, the startup claims that their vehicles will host the global automotive debut of the French audio brand Devialet.
‘Built Like a Tank’: The startup claims that the production model will be a 5-star safety product.
There is still a year to go before Pravaig Dynamics really makes a major splash in the commercial EV space, but it is already breaking a lot of barriers with incredible specifications and an eye on the future, even on subjects like data security.
Nonetheless, this isn’t something that has happened overnight. All this progress has been nine years in the making, ever since two friends Dhawal Khullar and Siddhartha Bagri established Pravaig Dynamics nine years ago.
They are now on the cusp of a greater future.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)