Right now, the world is in the middle of a technological paradigm shift, namely, renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs). Being a new technology, there are not many players with prior experience of lithium-ion batteries.
Apart from this, all other challenges related to taking new technology to market are present. For example, finding the right supplier of equipment, developing new manufacturing techniques to optimise production, coming up with efficient and safe standard operating procedures, and so on.
One specific problem is about safety from high-voltage DC electric shock. The industry currently does not have much expertise in working with very-high-voltage DC in the range of 800V DC to 1000V DC. So, a lot of safety training is needed to avoid mishaps.
Pain points of EVs are sub-par performance in Indian terrain and temperature, lithium-ion battery for high power vehicles, interference in connectivity/communication, thermal management, safety requirements at high voltage and current, fleet operators’ issue with starter battery, need for fast charging, need for communication and control over starter battery operation.
To ensure India plays a crucial role in this changeover and remove dependency on other countries for its EV components supply, IIT-Madras incubated deep-tech startup Grinntech has designed lithium-ion batteries that can be used for automotive applications and stationary energy-storage applications. Smart energy storage systems will be the foundation of how India will use energy in the future.
Lithium-ion batteries are very application- and environment-specific. So, it is not possible to design batteries without customising them for intended applications and environments. Grinntech solves this problem by custom-designing smart connected battery packs for specific applications.
Properties that make these batteries unique are analysis and simulation of cell characterisation, thermal simulation, variation and shock simulation, battery management system design, protection functionalities, mechanical design and packaging, cooling system design, current-carrying parts design, embedded software for monitoring and control, estimation algorithms, application business logic, communication protocol, protection against excessive current, protection against high voltage or leakage current, and noise/interference isolation between power and communication.
With inbuilt, compact liquid cooling, only four per cent battery volume is used for cooling. It has fast charging design with three times faster charging, is lockable via communication predictive troubleshooting and maintenance, and features connected battery, high current applications and ultra-low-power sleep mode.
Nikhilesh Mishra, chief executive officer, Grinntech Motors & Services Pvt Ltd, explains, “There have been many tests to ensure performance of batteries and vehicles throughout the year to ensure performance in all terrains and temperatures. Automotive OEMs are the primary target customer. Although, most of the EV business currently is being done in B2B segment where vehicles are being used for such applications as ride-sharing, food delivery, courier delivery and so on.”
In general, the EV experience is better than petrol or diesel for similarly power-rated vehicles. Pick-up is better, rides are noise-free and there is not much vibration.
There have been concerns about battery life and performance that Grinntech is trying to solve. Vehicles with Grinntech batteries are giving more range and faster charging. Battery degradation is low, and users know accurately how much energy is left in the batteries so they are never stranded on the road.