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Leveraging futuristic tech to empower new energy adoption

With a vision to 'innovate in India', technology-innovation startup – Matter, is on its course to drive convenient, safe, and reliable new energy solutions and disrupting the electric ecosystem in the country to help customers make informed decisions.

In an interesting conversation with ETN, Mohal Lalbhai - CEO and Founder of Matter, talked about his vision to contribute to India's energy independence through its battery product portfolio offerings, to pave a way for enabling higher EV adoption and clean energy transition.

Mohal Lalbhai, CEO and Founder of Matter

As one of the innovators in the e-mobility space, how is Matter disrupting the space with its indigenous product offering?

Matter is a technology innovation startup guided by its vision to be the most dynamic company driving India to a sustainable future. The brand envisions leveraging futuristic technologies in line with the 'innovate in India' approach. Transition to EVs is inevitable and would be driven through innovation and technology. Our products are designed for Indian households for whom owning a vehicle is a sentimental investment. We want to offer convenient, safe, and reliable choices thus allowing customers to make informed decisions. Recently, we launched MatterEnergy 1.0 – India's first active liquid-cooled battery pack, built with the fundamentals of safety, security, reliability, and performance. We have also developed a revolutionary drive-train solution - Matter Drive 1.0.

With emerging sectors like energy storage and EVs, what kind of opportunities do they offer for technology companies like Matter?

It was a watershed year for EVs in 2021, and we witnessed a tremendous movement in 2022; the trend in the EV market will continue to rise. When we look at the Indian market, we see that it is swamped with a variety of readily available products. However, these products are imported and assembled locally and sold to customers at cheaper prices. While these products meet the needs of the customers, in the long run, they will have a detrimental influence on the industry because they are not built with Indian climatic and topographic conditions in mind.

Looking at India's wide range of climatic conditions and geographies, our technology should be able to withstand the diversity that our country has to offer. This is the gap that Matter seeks to address; we have built a highly flexible technology platform capable of disrupting the electric ecosystem. Being customer-centric, we offer extraordinary value through innovations at every key touchpoint, making technology simple to use by making our product intuitive with a focus on connected experiences.

From the energy storage perspective, we are looking at both mobility and stationary segments. The market is untapped and holds a lot of potential and energy storage will be the real game changer in fossil fuel-based nations. Our vision is to transform the energy storage and management space in the country, by providing futuristic solutions with a seamless customer experience. Matter has put a strong foundation to develop and deliver Storage solutions for data centre, telecom, and integration of renewable energy and various grid applications.

I would like to say that at Matter we take pride in leveraging our technology expertise to empower everyone with the option to choose a cleaner alternative.

Battery Energy Storage System (Source: Matter)

Please share your vision to accelerate India's energy independence  

Matter Energy's Li-ion battery product portfolio will pave the way for enabling higher EV adoption and clean energy transition. Our stationary energy storage systems offerings are intended to support RE generators, transmission operators, Discoms, and other end-users. Our products will play a decisive part in satisfying the demands of India's burgeoning energy storage sector. These solutions are tailored to meet the unique requirements of Indian consumers.

For the energy business, we have recently introduced a portfolio of products at the India Energy Storage Week. We are creating reliable and safe portable solutions that can be deployed across the stationary and mobility segments, including EVs.

At Matter Energy, we are working on the path of realizing our target of an annual production capacity of 2GWh by 2023, as the manufacturing plant will be scaled to its full capacity. 

What are your plans with regards to launching electric two-wheelers in the Indian market? How prepared is the company in that direction?

I strongly believe e-motorcycles will lead the EV 2-wheeler revolution in India. Currently, most of the offerings in the EV space are scooters. However, being one of the largest 2W markets in the world, we are not catering to the 65 percent of the market which runs on motorcycles. Matter is working on this need and we are confident that we will lead the segment with our upcoming product later in the year.

The product's performance is attuned to the Indian conditions and usage patterns. We are strategically in technology and quality to ensure the product is resilient to the diversity that our country has to offer while providing the best riding experience.

The company launched Li-ion energy storage products and battery swapping concept at IESW 2022, New Delhi. Please tell us more about these innovative products.

The lithium-ion battery product portfolio enables a sustainable and clean energy transition. The brand offers a stationary energy storage system that supports Re generators, transmission operators, discoms, and other end-users.

Matter Energy showcased the concept of its upcoming innovative battery swapping ecosystem. The swapping ecosystem is an outcome of the group's research and development and design focus on future product ranges delivering ideal solutions for E - mobility.

Swap stations are quick plug-in-and-play docks convenient for users to charge on the go supported by the smart GUI and mobile application, which keeps you up to date on a variety of metrics such as SoC, SoH, SoP, Battery Temperature, Voltage, Amperage, and Number of Cycles.

BESS products range from Energy & Power Applications to containerized devices for those required in specialized buildings. The brand offers the most optimum energy solutions that are customizable up to 1000 V for compact and easy-to-install. To function in India's climatic conditions, the applications are equipped with an advanced HVAC system.

The company has signed an MoU with ARAI for next-gen mobility solutions. How is the collaboration shaping up? Please share some milestones achieved to date.  

Matter has enacted a contract with ARAI- state government of Gujarat in a form of MoU that will be led by an investment of Rs. 1500 crores. The investment of Rs. 1200 crores will be allocated to electric vehicles and Rs. 300 crores to the energy storage ecosystem. This will help the state government to generate 4000 jobs potentially and will go a long way in building the foundation of Matter as a transformative technology start-up in the country and beyond.  

What kind of funding has Matter secured to date? Any plans on raising new funds for bolstering R&D, and commercialization?

We recently raised US$ 10 Million in the latest round led by Capital 2B Fund 1, Climate Angels Fund, and other marquees Indian and overseas HNI's. The fresh capital will be deployed towards continuous technological innovations, manufacturing, and marketing.

Founded in 2019, Matter was bootstrapped for the initial three years wherein we invested $7.5 million in the R&D of our proprietary technology stack. We intend to use a part of the funding towards the launch of our first and best-in-class EV motorcycle. We are confident that once launched the vehicle will set new benchmarks in the Indian E2W industry. Another half of the funding will be used to ramp up the Energy business. MatterEnergy's stationary applications' current capacity of 200 Mw hours is expected to be ramped up to 2 GWh over the next two years. We aim to develop a world-class portfolio of EV and energy storage products to catalyze the clean energy transition in India and the fresh round of funding is a boost towards the goal. We will continue to look for new partners in our journey toward revolutionizing India's shift to sustainable energy. 

How has your association with the India Energy Storage Alliance helped you in your growth journey?

The India Energy Storage Alliance is focused on the development of advanced energy storage and e-mobility technologies in India. We want to see batteries connected to the grid, powering mini-grids, and allowing for greater use of energy storage. We are glad to be associated with the IESA, which is leading the industry from the front, and provides a forum for us to demonstrate our skills in R&D. As a brand, we look forward to progressively and successfully positioning ourselves in the industry space.

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