How Log9 Materials is helping India become self-sustainable in the EV sector

The Turning Point is a series of short articles that focus on the moment entrepreneurs hit upon their winning idea. This week, we feature Bengaluru-based Log9 Materials, which is building lithium-titanium-oxide batteries for electric vehicles and investing in climatetech startups.

How Log9 Materials is helping India become self-sustainable in the EV sector

Saturday February 18, 2023,

6 min Read

Deeptech battery startup Log 9 Materials believes material science can be the key differentiator in making our country self-sufficient and self-sustainable. It is with this belief that the company is building lithium-titanium-oxide batteries for the EV (electric vehicles) sector in the country. 

During its initial stage, the Bengaluru-based company was making graphene-enhanced products, such as air filters, smoke filters, and oil filters, for use in various industries. The company’s big breakthrough came in 2019 when it decided to enter the EV space with its RapidX range of batteries.

With a strong base in material science and an interest in innovation, it was only natural that Log9 diversified into a space that showed great scope and promise. 

“Our intent has always been inclined toward fighting climate change and making India self-sufficient for its energy needs. So, we initiated R&D in battery technology and manufacturing, stepping into the EV space,” Pankaj Sharma, Co-founder and Director, Log9 Materials, tells YourStory.

Battery and energy solutions

The startup began testing the waters in advanced battery tech and developed an EV battery testing pack in 2019. A year later, it launched the RapidX range of 'fast-charging' batteries designed in India—for India and the tropical belt.

Log9 hopes RapidX will redefine the EV sector in the country, which is largely dependent on imports for meeting its demand. The company says its batteries can operate in diverse climatic conditions and an extreme temperature range of -40 to 65 degrees Celsius. 

According to Sharma, RapidX batteries are tested for safety standards and performance and mitigate the risk of fire incidents. “With IoT-enabled telematics and battery management system, we ensure better performance and safety, even in diverse tropical climatic conditions,” he says.

The company claims its batteries last nine times more than other batteries and can be charged pretty fast—less than 15 minutes for two-wheelers and 35-40 minutes for three- and four-wheelers. The batteries are also long-lasting and last for more than 15 years, says Sharma.  

The batteries are made using lithium-ion cells developed at its facility in Jakkuru, Bengaluru. The startup sources lithium from Umicore Autocat Pvt Ltd, a chemical manufacturing company based in Maharashtra.

Log9 Mobility
Log9 Materials raises Rs 91.25 Cr in extended Series B round

To date, Log9 has commercialised over 3,000 batteries in collaboration with leading OEMs such as JMT, Hero Electric (for two-wheelers), Omega Seiki Mobility, Grevol, 3eco (three-wheelers), and Northway (four-wheelers). It has also initiated pilot programmes in South Africa, Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. 

The startup competes with players such as Sun Mobility (EV energy infrastructure firm), Jio-bp (EV charging and battery swapping infrastructure), Exponent (EV rapid charging startup ) and Nexcharge (lithium-ion battery packs).

Apart from mobility solutions, Log9 also offers stationary energy storage systems under the brand name ZappUp, again based on lithium-titanate-oxide chemistry. They are used for residential, industrial, and commercial applications.

Lithium-ion recycling

To reduce the carbon footprint of its batteries, Log9 has joined hands with Metastable Materials, a Bengaluru-based startup, which has a patented technology in lithium-ion recycling. The technology helps extract a wide range of materials from batteries, with a recovery rate of more than 90%, according to Sharma.

He says India has enough old lithium-ion batteries in the ecosystem, which are only going to increase exponentially in the decade to come. "These batteries carry with them a substantial repository of lithium, which, if recycled, can cater to over half of all EV demand.”

“Log9 is committed to urban mining the key components that go into lithium-ion cells, which will bring us closer to indigenising lithium-ion cell production in India,” he says. 

Other initiatives 

The company has also introduced BaaS (battery-as-a-service) and MaaS (mobility-as-a-service) models to help people use EVs without the burden of upfront payment. While the BaaS model allows customers to lease batteries from Log9, the MaaS service lets them buy EVs powered by Log9 through collaborations with leading OEMs across the country.

The startup is also leading other changes in climatetech with its investments in companies fighting climate change and tackling the challenges of energy infrastructure. 

Last month, Log9 invested in Bengaluru-based deeptech startup Chara Technologies. In their individual capacity, the three founders of Log9 have invested in climatetech company Climes, urban mining startup Metastable Materials, deeptech startup Praan, agri-biotech firm Loopworm, and drone logistics service provider TSaw. 

Early days

Dr Akshay Singhal, Co-founder and CEO of Log9, took his first step towards entrepreneurship in September 2014 when he explored the possibilities of graphene and initiated synthesis experiments at his home lab in Delhi. Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice nanostructure. 

Log9 was established on April 21, 2015 and was subsequently incubated at IIT-Roorkee. 

Sharma joined Singhal on the journey in late 2015, followed by Kartik Hajela (COO and Co-founder) in 2016, after a stint with ITC.

“With consistent R&D in graphene, we got into the scale-up processes and amassed material IP,” says Sharma. 

​In the following year, Log9 moved to the hub of startups, Bengaluru, establishing its headquarters and R&D centre in the city. Today, the company has offices in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Mumbai.

Later, the team started in-depth research on aluminium air fuel cells. After a year of rigorous research and experiments, Log9 developed, what it claims to be, India’s first aluminium air fuel cells in 2018.

Funding and plans

A year after its venture into the EV industry, Log9 has reached an annual revenue rate of $20 million. 

The startup recently raised $40 million (mix of equity and debt) in a Series B funding round led by Amara Raja Batteries and Petronas Ventures (Malaysia) and supported by Incred Financial Services, Unity Small Finance Bank, Oxyzo Financial Services, and Western Capital Advisors. It has raised $65 million since inception.

Log9 hopes to use the fresh capital to expand its battery manufacturing capabilities from 250 MWh to 2 GWh by the end of 2024 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. 

The company, which is backed by VCs Sequoia and Exfinity Ventures and strategic investors Amara Raja Batteries and Petronas, envisions to be a considerable name in the clean mobility and energy sectors, across all tropical countries by the end of this decade. 

(The copy has been updated to correct a factual error.)

Edited by Swetha Kannan