With the rising adoption of electric vehicles in the automobile business, pollution-free electric fuel is highly demanded. Chargekart, a startup by Geetha Ravali and Arun Reddy Thumma encourages people to reduce carbon emissions not only by using electric vehicles, by selecting a truly sustainable fuel for EVs.
The start-up began in May 2022 but the team started working on it a year before. Speaking to Climapreneur, Arun Reddy Thumma said that he and his co-founder started working on Chargekart with an aim to, “promote sustainable mobility” He also said. “…we started our research on electric vehicles which were promoted and advertised as a great way to tackle climate change. We noticed many flaws or drawbacks in electric vehicles.”
Adding further about the flaws in electric vehicles, he said, “Electric vehicles are pumped into the market without giving detailing to many aspects which indirectly affect the people. When we look at electric vehicles from a production point of view, it requires Batteries that come from mining and emit from 2400 kgs to 16000 kgs of CO2 equivalent. When we look at operations angle, electric vehicles require energy to move which in major share come from fossil fuel-based sources.”
Citing the Ministry of Road Transport estimates, Reddy said that India will have approx 8 crore electric vehicles and 70 percent of which will be E2Ws and E3Ws. The rest of the EVs will be E4Ws and Buses. He further adds that this can lead to 4 tonnes of CO2 emission per day. This will create “an additional burden on the existing fossil fuel-based power generation units and it is not sustainable. The energy required is a load on the existing grid which needs upgradation with respect to demand, without upgradation people will face grid imbalance resulting in power shortages and power cuts.”
The E2Ws and E3Ws have batteries of capacity 3KWH and 7KWH. Using these vehicles, one can travel from 80 to 180 kilometers only. Moreover one has to wait for a long time to charge these batteries as fast charging is not possible because these batteries are devoid of internal cooling systems which will cause thermal runaway or battery burning.
So at Chargekart, Reddy adds, “We work on distributing clean energy to electric vehicles through mobile charging units powered by an intelligent adaptive charging technology(Still under development). With this technology, we will be able to achieve faster charging and improved battery life.”
Speaking about the challenges Arun Reddy Thumma faced in starting Chargekart, he said, “When I started working on this idea, I approached incubators for technical help and funding. It didn’t work because incubators are expecting equity even for government grants. Many of the incubators don’t have access to funding, labs, and mentoring but still, they expect high equity.” He said, “ In the initial months, I faced a lot of criticism and our co-founder left. Then I started looking for a cofounder who is technically sound to implement the technology, luckily I found one. I felt it was difficult to get the support but without losing confidence, I started applying for grants from incubators, and we got selected for NIDHI-EIR in CIE-IIIT Hyderabad.”
Despite the challenges, Chargekart is working today with experienced team members and is trying to reverse climate change. Speaking about how Chargekart stands out among other pollution-free fuel-providing stations, Reddy says, “Our charging strategy is first of a kind and requires a lot of R&D to implement in the real world, We are creating a pool of data sets which can be trained using machine learning. Intelligent adaptive charging technology takes the data from the battery before and while charging and integrates it with the cloud to optimize the charging time with the help of supervised machine learning techniques. We have our milestones set and successfully achieving the targets.
The journey of entrepreneurship is one of understanding the problem and then solving it through a specific solution. Entrepreneurs are known for their eccentric solutions to climate change. Like many other start-ups, Chargekart is trying in its own way to reduce the emissions in the air from the vehicles that were actually made for reducing pollution. This startup clearly tells us that even though we build things to reverse climate change, we miss out on the disadvantages that those inventions might cause.
Giving advice to other entrepreneurs, the founder of Chargekart said, “My suggestion to fellow entrepreneurs working on climate action is to have a deep understanding of the problem and indirect and indirect consequences of the implementation of the solution.”