Interview: Kartik Hajela

Co-Founder and COO at Log9 Materials

Log9 Continues to Scale Up Li-ion Cell Manufacturing, Optimize Costs, and Improve Technology

March 21, 2024. By Abha Rustagi

Our cells are designed from the ground-up in India, for India; to suit Indian operating conditions, climate, and customers, and are hence going to play a crucial role in making India self-reliant while helping the nation realise its ambitious electric mobility vision, says Kartik Hajela, Co-Founder and COO at Log9 Materials in an interview with Abha Rustagi, Senior Journalist, Energetica India.

Que: Could you elaborate on the strategic partnership between Log9 Materials and Trinity Cleantech, particularly in establishing an interoperable charging network for EVs across India?

Ans: To expand the ecosystem of fast charging infrastructure for ‘Last Mile Commercial Applications’, Log9 is proud to partner with Trinity Cleantech which has been one of the early movers in the EV industry. With this partnership, the intention is to champion the future of Type-6 fast chargers, the next-generation standard poised to revolutionise charging speed and convenience.

The partnership will help to standardise 2W/3W Segments using Type-6 charging standard for low voltage electric vehicles and will extend beyond simple hardware integration. Trinity ‘Thunder’ Platform will seamlessly integrate with Log9’s ‘Instacharge’ platform, streamlining operations and enhancing user experience. Log9 vehicles with Type-6 standard will be charged at Trinity charging Infrastructure. Trinity chargers come with interoperable technology and can be utilised by any other OEMs which has followed or enabled Type-6 charging standard.

As the EV landscape evolves, Log9 and Trinity pledge to jointly navigate technological advancements in connectors, protocols, and payment gateways, guaranteeing sustained compatibility for years to come.

Que: The collaboration with Trinity Cleantech aims to deploy 2,000 public charging stations by the end of the next financial year. How do you foresee this rapid expansion addressing range anxiety and boosting EV confidence and accessibility?

Ans: Trinity under their brand name ‘Thunder+’ will provide 2,000 public charging stations that will be deployed across India by the end-FY2025. More infrastructure will lead to reduction in range anxiety and this base of 2k charging stations, will help Log9 to deploy more EVs on the road. Trinity’s expertise in manufacturing, software, and infrastructure management ensures reliable and efficient service for every charge. Type-6/Bharat LEV DC is emerging as a standard fast-charge protocol for last-mile low voltage vehicles and Log9 being a pioneer in fast-charge in India is working aggressively to make sure access to the same is available for their next gen fast charge battery customers. This commitment to interoperability extends to the 'BCA LEV DC' standard (IS 17017-25 & IS 17017-2-6), ensuring users can charge anywhere with confidence. Log9 has developed grounds up charging control systems to adopt this technology across its platforms.

Currently, Type-6 infra is limited in numbers and with this partnership, Log9 and Trinity will deploy these 2k stations across India to support fast charging for 2W/3W. This partnership will hence give the necessary fillip to boost EV adoption by making it more convenient for existing e3w and e2w customers. The collaboration exemplifies both companies' dedication to innovation in transportation. By embracing electric vehicles and fast-charging solutions, Log9 and Trinity are setting the standard for a more sustainable and efficient future in the logistics and transportation sector.

Que: Log9 Materials has plans to expand its lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility capacity. Can you share more details about this expansion?

Ans: We established our lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility earlier in 2023, and currently the company is already in partnership with Amara Raja for scaling up the cell tech. We already set up the 50 MWhr line on which we are streamlining and creating further new technologies from LTO to LFP and new chemistries are on the way. The scale up is already happening in partnership with Amara Raja as well.

The current cell production line has used a lot of learnings from Log9’s battery production line. We started with the battery pack production to understand what works and the market, and we started with a safe chemistry. The current production line can cater to 25,000 electric two-wheelers annually.

Around 60-70 percent of this current line will be used for R&D and we will continue developing and experimenting on chemistries because the next scale-up will be big, at least 20 times this size. That investment will be huge, and we are still trying to figure out where to set it up. This time a lot of other things will come into play in terms of land and government, but it will most likely be in South India.

Que: How does Log9 Materials intend to scale up its battery pack manufacturing capacity from 250 MWh to 2 GWh in the next 15-18 months?

Ans: We have grown our battery pack manufacturing capacity from 40 megawatt hours (MWh) in 2021 and already have a 500 MWh capacity and are on the way of expanding it to 1 GWh in the next 15 months. We have brought in a lot of automation and improved the process as well as enhanced the efficiency of manufacturing. We continue to scale up lithium-ion cell manufacturing, optimize costs, and improve technology.

We are looking to raise further capital to expand our battery manufacturing capabilities and commission India’s first fully integrated lithium-ion cell production line. Over Rs 100 crore will be invested on advancements in cell and battery technology stacks.

Que: Log9 Materials initially focused on battery offerings for 3-wheelers and expanded into 2- and 4-wheelers. What are your plans for further diversification into commercial user segments like large trucks and buses?

Ans: Initially, Log9 started with battery offerings for three-wheelers in 2021 and later expanded to the two and four-wheeler segments. We continue to be working in the commercial utility space for two-wheelers for food delivery and e-commerce delivery. In four-wheelers, we are entering into cargo vehicles. Log9 seeks to expand its portfolio in commercial mobility use cases such as two, three and four-wheelers and industrial equipment, including forklifts and tow trucks. Additionally, we aim to foray into other commercial user segments such as large trucks and buses as well in the near future.

Que: In a market dominated by imports for EV cells, what advantages does Log9 Materials offer with its indigenously manufactured cells, especially concerning energy efficiency and suitability for Indian conditions?

Ans: Log9 has built India’s first indigenous TiB (Tropicalised ion Battery) cell line. Uniquely designed for tropical conditions, TiB cell comes with best-in-industry characteristics, including enhanced safety, long life, low-temperature performance, rapid charging, high input & output power, and a wide usable SOC range.

Log9’s state-of-the-art tables cell design tackles internal resistance and enhances thermal dissipation hence restraining overheating, improving charge transfer, and increasing power by up to 40x and energy by up to 20x. With significant reductions in carbon emission and production cost, Log9’s manufacturing process for the cells are highly sustainable, efficient, and economic.

Our cells are designed from the ground-up in India, for India; to suit Indian operating conditions, climate, and customers, and are hence going to play a crucial role in making India self-reliant while helping the nation realise its ambitious electric mobility vision.

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