Exponent: Solving a two-sided problem of fast-charging

Exponent: Solving a two-sided problem of fast-charging


Exponent Energy founder Arun Vinayak characterizes the issue of charging electric vehicle (EV) batteries as a two-sided one. In the realm of fossil fuels, gasoline or diesel simply sits in a stupid tank, where it is burned in an engine to provide energy. Hence, while auto manufacturers constructed the engines and powertrains, energy firms built the distribution system.

Energy distribution, storage, and transfer from the grid to the EV are complicated operations in the EV world. Among other things, one must be concerned with temperature control and cell chemistry. It’s a two-sided dilemma by definition, he asserts.

In order to address this issue, Vinayak, a former chief product officer of Ather Energy, and his friend Sanjay Byalal Jagannath, a former supply chain specialist at HUL, founded Exponent in 2020.

According to Vinayak, batteries are not harmed while being discharged, or when an electric vehicle is being driven. The batteries, both the cells that make up each one and the electronics that control them, are most stressed during the charging process.

For a driver, it is a simple experience. Just plug in the connector. Just one click and all the pins sort of engage”, Arun Vinayak Founder of Exponent Energy.

Maintaining the lithium-ion batteries in their preferred 25 to 35-degree Celsius range is also essential. Exponent has developed a charging station and battery system that shifts the cooling issue to the pump.

They have devised a method to cool the battery pack while it charges by pumping cold water under pressure into it. Once the charge is finished, they have a method to remove all the water, making the EV ready to use.

All of this entails an off-board HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) as well as a pressure system, or pump, which really resides inside the e-pump, Exponent’s charger. The connector also required a lot of labor, according to Vinayak. 

It has fluid couplers, signal pins, and power pins that, depending on the situation, can either make or break a seal.

“For the driver, it’s a simple experience. Just plug in the connector, just one click, and all these pins sort of engage,” he says. And there’s a lock that won’t allow the connector to be pulled out mid-charging. Once the lock engages, the system builds up pressure and pumps in the cold water, and once the battery achieves the right temperature, the system also starts pumping in current.

Exponent guarantees the batteries will last for at least 3,000 charging cycles and claims zero to 100 percent charge can be achieved in 15 minutes.

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