Is Hopcharge, a Gurugram-based startup, redefining the electric vehicle charging experience?
This article is part of a deep dive into Electric Vehicles in India. #EVinIndia is the first chapter of ‘Shaping Sustainability’, an exclusive series by The Better India to give our readers an in-depth understanding of how Indians are making sustainability a priority in all walks of life. Find more stories from the series, here.
Hopcharge, a Gurugram-based startup founded by Arjun Singh (an alumnus of BITS-Pilani) in 2019 with Saurabh Rohilla (an alumnus of IIT-Delhi) as co-founder, is redefining the electric vehicle (EV) charging experience with their on-demand, doorstep and fast charging service.
“No one in the world provides on-demand doorstep charging services. Many companies are still in the conception stages but no one has come close yet. Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are creating their own subsidiaries and making them charging point operators to support their EV customers. Our service addresses the challenges posed by the paucity of EV charging infrastructure in India, slow charging facilities at home and the productive time being consumed to charge vehicles,” claims Arjun, in a conversation with The Better India.
“We have created the world’s first on-demand, doorstep and fast EV charging service by deploying our unique made-in-India and patented rapid charging technology that enables modular and mobile charging infrastructure. Our services also augments the local power grid, minimises expensive grid upgrade and saves productive time for EV owners,” adds Arjun.
The number of energy pods that Hopcharge has deployed so far remains undisclosed. However, their services cover Gurugram and parts of NCR on demand, claims Arjun.
Hopcharge’s services are powered by a proprietary energy pod that has a lithium ion-based energy storage coupled with a rapid charger, which can charge EVs at the same speed as a public fast charger. This system includes connected and portable power banks with high power charging capabilities specifically designed for EVs.
“Our hardware (mobile, modular, and plug & play) has been developed from scratch for this specific purpose, complimented by a user mobile app (iOS and android) and supported by a technology-enabled backend energy management system to execute the end to end process. All three interfaces are designed and built to global standards, fast charging protocols, and more than 140 EV models globally. Moreover, our technology patent has not only been granted in India but also in the United States,” claims Saurabh, speaking to The Better India.
Accessing Hopcharge’s Service
Users can download the Hopcharge application, which is available on both android and iOS app stores, sign up on the application, request a charge from the convenience of their homes by selecting their EV, location, current battery status and a time of their convenience to schedule the charge. “Any session can be scheduled up to 48 hours in advance, making it the most convenient EV charging experience workflow for our customers,” says Arjun.
“The Hopcharge subscription service provides the user with a hassle-free experience which removes the dependency on fixed charging stations along with the high-cost setup of a fast-charging station at home. This results in a lower cost of ownership due to the on-demand, door-step service as the user only needs to shell out as low as Rs 3 per kilometre,” he adds.
On average, it takes about 36 minutes for Hopcharge to charge your EV. Of course, this figure will vary depending on the vehicle. But the advantages this model seemingly has over the public and residential charging models are apparent.
“Residential home chargers are slow AC chargers that take hours to charge EVs and hence impact the mobility of EV owners. Plus not everyone is lucky enough to have an independent house to install those chargers. Even if one is fortunate to install a home charger, one has to go through the process of load sanction, site inspection, installation, and regular load/demand charges. All of that hassle is eliminated by Hopcharge,” says Saurabh.
Meanwhile, the public fast DC charger is the same as Hopcharge, but the latter does the job during idle time and saves ‘productive time’ for EV owners. “A public charger can’t charge at the doorstep. Hence, Hopcharge complements public charger infrastructure and offers last-mile convenience. Hopcharge delivers complete peace of mind to those who have a home charger installed yet want to charge at any location outside,” he adds.
Founded in 2019, the startup was mostly engaged in R&D and product development till 2021. In early 2022, they launched their usage-based subscription model which is selling now in OEM dealerships.
Hopcharge co-founders come from energy and automotive backgrounds. Arjun has more than 15 years of energy industry experience and also led the energy policy team of Delhi government in 2015. Meanwhile, co-founder Saurabh comes from more than 18 years of experience in the automotive industry and was formerly director of the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers (SIAM) focussing on e-mobility and strategy expertise.
“Although there are many benefits of the Hopcharge model, we can boil it down to four — saving productive time for EV users, reducing Rs/Km running cost, giving assurance of professional battery health management and avoiding home set up hassles,” says Arjun.
He claims, “The product has gone through extensive testing during the time. Our batteries are BIS certified and the charger is compliant with relevant AIS and IEC standards. We follow international charging protocols like CCS-2 which are popularly used in almost all personal EV brands. We are a Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) certified technology startup. We are currently in the NCR region with our subscription services exclusively in Gurugram and plan to launch our services in all the major metropolitans shortly.”
The co-founders weren’t keen on sharing any details about the funding but stated that the initial seed capital for the venture came from themselves.
“Our future roadmap is to penetrate further into Delhi-NCR followed by other major cities where we are getting a good response. In addition, we are seeing many countries having similar bottlenecks. We are also receiving great interest from businesses/entrepreneurs around the world for the solution that we have built,” he adds.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)