In an Upfront Interaction, Vikas Aggarwal, Founder and MD, iPower Batteries Pvt. Ltd. speaks to Deepti Thore about scaling up to offer more reliable and safer batteries.

Q. Tell us about your journey since 2019. Starting as a young startup, what milestones have you attained up until now?

A. We are a dynamic and ambitious startup with a wealth of experience spanning three decades in the battery industry. Our journey is marked by consistent growth and customer satisfaction, which led us to relocate our factory premises twice since 2019. These relocations were driven by the overwhelmingly positive response received from our customers and the expansion of our markets.

Our battery offerings are not only fully compliant and certified for electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers but also holds the prestigious TSEC certification for telecom applications. Over the past four years, we have successfully delivered approximately one lakh batteries annually. This success is further underlined by the establishment of more than 50 sales and service centres across India.

Fuelling our success is an enthusiastic team of 250 individuals who continuously raise the bar year after year, consistently achieving higher goals. Our state-of-the-art facility boasts a daily production capacity of 400 batteries per day per shift, averaging 24Wh. These batteries are not only world-class but also stand out for their safety and reliability.

Apart from production and financial growth we have worked equally on R&D to bring in new technology and innovate solutions specifically for the Indian market. Our products like RugPro and Telecom batteries have received huge success in the market, making us eager to achieve more milestones.

Q. Who are your major clients and which segments do you get maximum traction from?

A. Our strategic partnerships with top-tier two-wheeler and three-wheeler manufacturers underscore our commitment to excellence. In addition to serving the electric vehicle market, we have diversified our portfolio to include products for wheelchairs, telecom applications, and emerging products in the Energy Storage Systems (ESS) sector.


Q. How has the current financial year panned out? Would you want to elaborate on the KPIs?

A. For us FY24 is expected to close with EBITDA of 18 per cent and so far we have been delivering good market performance and we are very positive of our performance moving forward.

Q. What technology are you adopting in the manufacturing line and how are you ensuring safety?

A. We specialise in LMFP batteries, excelling in safety, compactness, and lightweight design compared to NMC and LFP. Our advanced LMFP batteries boast GPS features and remote mobilize capabilities, elevating them beyond conventional power sources. With inherent stability and innovation, we redefine energy storage by prioritising safety and smart functionality.

We are trying to inculcate a culture of safety around the organisation, be it the product, technology, or the production line. We are continuously evolving every day in our factory to make it safer in all aspects. We have dedicated teams to cater and respond quickly to any safety concern.

Q. How are you ensuring quality? What tests are being carried out?

A. Our manufacturing facility holds prestigious certifications, including IATF, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001, underscoring our commitment to the highest manufacturing standards. We implement rigorous quality control measures, including stringent checks at every stage – from incoming raw materials to production and dispatch. Our focus on safety and product quality is unwavering, ensuring meticulous attention to detail throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Being in the battery segment for over 3 decades has given us a good understanding of the consumer behaviour and handling of the product. We try to put ourselves in the mindset of the Indian user and the conditions. This helps us to ensure quality of the product to minimise the after sales problems in the batteries.


Q. Tell us about the aftermarket services at Ipower.

A. Ipower is focussed towards setting extensive battery service centre network Pan-India, which aims at helping EV owners to keep their battery safe, serviced and educate them on its upkeep. Apart from this, the company is committed to upskilling local engineers in running these service centres as battery service engineering is a relatively new concept for the domestic market. So far, Ipower Batteries Pvt. Ltd. has set up 50 battery service and replacement centres pan India and the number is continually growing.

Q. Why have you chosen the LMFP battery chemistry?

A. We have chosen LMFP specially for Electric two-Wheeler, because two-wheeler has a constraint of size and weight apart from the most important parameters of fire safety and long cycle life.

Q. What are your expansion plans?

A. We are currently focussed on our growing product demand in the market which is also encouraging us to look out for manufacturing units beyond our current manufacturing facility. We intend to add more such innovative products in our portfolio and reach Rs.300 crores in the next financial year with EBITDA of 18- 20 per cent on the financial front.

Q. What are the other product offerings? Tell us more about the smart BMS offered to your clients.

A. We offer Lithium charger/s along with batteries for Electric cycle, two-wheeler, three-wheeler and Telecom Battery. Smart Battery Management Systems (BMS) in India, like elsewhere, often come with various features aimed at optimising battery performance and safety. Some common features of smart BMS available in India include:

Cell Balancing ensures that individual cells within a battery pack are charged and discharged uniformly, enhancing overall battery life. State of Charge (SoC) Estimation provides accurate estimations of the remaining battery capacity, aiding in better battery management and planning.

Overcharge/Over-discharge Protection prevents the battery from being charged beyond safe limits or discharged to damaging levels, thus safeguarding the battery’s health. Temperature Monitoring monitors the battery temperature to prevent overheating, which can damage the battery and compromise safety.

Voltage and Current Monitoring tracks voltage and current flow within the battery system for optimal performance and safety. Communication Interfaces many advanced BMS systems offer interfaces like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or CAN bus for data transmission and remote monitoring/control of the battery.

Fault Detection and Alarms identifies potential issues or faults within the battery system and triggers alarms or notifications to prevent further damage.

Energy Management manages the energy flow in and out of the battery, optimising efficiency and ensuring a longer life span.

Compatibility smart BMS systems might be compatible with various battery chemistries (like lithium-ion, lead-acid, etc.) and adaptable to different applications such as electric vehicles, solar storage, etc.

User Interface some smart BMS systems offer user-friendly interfaces, such as mobile app. or dedicated software, allowing users to monitor battery performance and control settings.

These features may vary depending on the manufacturer, model, and intended application of the smart BMS available in the Indian market. Users often choose a BMS based on their specific requirements, whether it’s for renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, or other applications.


Q. How does your R&D centre operate? What global standards are you adopting?

A. We have always believed that innovation is the core of a successful product and the company. Since the start we had a dream to innovate products which can smartly and afford ably solve the problems for Indian consumers and diverse conditions. Our R&D team continually studies the market needs, consumers issues under varied conditions and keep working on finding newer ways to solve it. Our approach is to anticipate the market needs and innovate; this keeps us ahead in the game.


Q. How sustainable are your operations?

A. Apart from all the standard norms and certifications, we are taking a lot of measures to make our operations sustainable. We believe that every small step towards sustainability will slowly give us a big result. We continually keep adding new measures to reduce the carbon footprint within the organisation. Recently we have setup a huge terrace garden in our factory not only to enjoy organic food in our canteen but to reduce the carbon impact. We strive to be a carbon net zero company in near future.


Q. What are the challenges you’ve overcome along the way?

A. Like any other startup we also faced a lot of challenges but every challenge unfolded as a teacher for the entire team and helped us evolve better as a company. From being a young startup in battery manufacturing to establishing a full-fledged R&D facility inhouse we have come a long way. As an Indian company, we faced a challenge of mindset initially towards market receptiveness for our product to now being a choicest battery manufacturer for some reputable brands. Few ongoing challenges are there and we are working on it to find a long-lasting solution. We believe that a team with a positive mindset can pass any hurdle.

Q. What are your growth opportunities for the near term?

A. Our focus soon is to come up with more and more innovative products for the EV industry to revolutionize the industry and also provide state-of-the-art products for the telecom industry where we have witnessed a sharp rise for our products. With these in focus we are also looking to explore potential areas to scale our manufacturing facility owing to growing demand for our products. Alongside, investing in our R&D facility will witness an increase as that has always been our focus on delivering best in class products. ACI



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