The Indian market is today flooded with companies making lithium-ion batteries. While each company has its unique selling point, it is interesting to note the subtle differences that each offers.
“We use an overcapacity specification. When a client asks for a 30 Ah (Amp-hours) battery we provide them with a 31.5 Ah battery. That is not just a huge differentiator but also a trust-building factor for us,” Puneet Jain, CEO of Natural Battery Technologies tells The Better India.
Battery capacity is measured in Ah or Amp-hours and as the name suggests this translates to how many amps the battery can deliver in an hour. The battery packs are weatherproofed and made of strong external closures. The battery is also built with shockproof material to withstand strong impacts at high speeds.
“The endeavour has been to exceed the safety specifications laid down,” says Puneet.
A Serial Entrepreneur
Puneet describes himself as a serial entrepreneur and says that he enjoys building companies. In his previous stint, he worked in Dubai on LED screens and digital signage integration in malls and outdoor spaces. “I have also spent sufficient time working with web application start-ups, some of which did not even take off,” he adds.
An Electronics and Communications Engineer, Puneet started Natural Battery Technologies in July 2019. Having studied at the Vellore Institute of Technology, Puneet chose to return to Jaipur, Rajasthan, and start the company there.
He continues, “I have always been on the lookout for the next big idea and the battery space was both exciting and exploding in India. My interest and educational qualification fit well when I started working on developing a battery.”
In a sense, this sector slowly crept upon Puneet, as he explains it.
Having started with an investment of Rs 2 lakh, Puneet says that the prototype was ready for e-rickshaws and e-scooters. “I initially started with making batteries for electric three-wheelers and during the prototyping stage veered towards working on batteries for electric two-wheelers. In the same way, while the company was initially supplying batteries only to dealers, we have now started dealing with clients directly. However, in terms of scalability, working as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) helped us with achieving good monthly sales numbers.”
An OEM makes systems or components that are used in another company’s end product. “A large chunk of our business continues to come from B2B clients, while we are open to working with clients directly and customising the batteries as per their requirement,” he adds.
On average, close to 2,000 batteries are sold every month and the company has grown from making Rs 10 lakh in 2019 to now making Rs 11 crore annually.
‘We are making high-speed batteries.’
While the regular lithium-ion batteries in the market give the user a range between 70 to 150 km/hr, the batteries manufactured by the company give up to 250 km/hr. “These are the high-speed bike and scooter batteries. We are integrating up to 100 to 120 Ah batteries that can even be converted into use in electric cars and e-rickshaws as well,” says Puneet. These batteries are currently in the trial phase and will be on the market for purchase soon.
Speaking about the pricing of these batteries, Puneet says that the batteries can cost up to Rs 1.5 lakh. “These batteries are great for fleet operators,” he adds. The pricing is competitive and Puneet says that they can customise and provide OEMs with exactly what they are looking for. The shelf-life of these batteries, if maintained well, can last up to five years, says Puneet.
Sharing some tips on how best to care for the batteries, he says, “When not in use, ensure that you store your battery in a cool place and once every 15 days the battery must be charged fully. If in use, the battery has a life of between 800 to 1000 cycles, where one cycle is calculated as a complete charge and discharge. These batteries also come with a warranty of three years but can go on beyond that.”
When asked about the battery swapping policy that was presented in the 2022 budget speech, Puneet says, “All the battery brands will become compatible with electric cars — very much like cooking gas cylinders that we use at home, which has a standard size and weight. The battery swapping policy, once it comes into play, will open up the market to a huge possibility.”
Six Tips on Battery Maintenance:
· Ensure that the battery is kept dry at all times. These should be moisture-free. Do not ingress water or any other material into the battery.
· Never charge the battery immediately after full discharge. The battery must be brought back to room temperature and cooled down before it can be plugged in to be charged.
· Always use the appropriate charger. While the market has many fast chargers, do not resort to using them all the time. Fast chargers tend to deteriorate the lifespan of the battery. You will be reducing the battery life by almost half in doing so. Use fast chargers very sparingly.
· In case you find any defect in the battery then it is advisable to stop using the battery immediately. Get it checked by the manufacturer before using it again.
· Always invest in buying a good quality battery. While this might cost more, it is safer to use in the long run.
· Ideally the battery should be serviced once every six months. Do so only with an authorised service provider or better still from the manufacturer itself. This will help you understand the wear and tear of the battery better.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)