Ion Energy: Building the tech backbone for electric vehicles

Akhil Aryan and Alexandre Collet recognised a crucial gap in the Indian EV market and embarked upon building advanced electronics, battery management systems, and predictive analytics platforms especially for electric vehicles

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Nov 16, 2021 04:33:20 PM IST
Updated: Nov 16, 2021 04:45:15 PM IST

Alexandre Colletor (left) and Akhil Aryan of Ion Energy

For Akhil Aryan, something that a mentor had once told him had stayed in his mind: Many of the world’s smartest people are spending their lives pushing advertisements, one way or another. At the time Aryan himself was helping advance a tech product aimed at something similar. It was time to do something more meaningful and he chose energy sustainability, and more specifically the EV industry.

Ion Energy was founded in 2016 in Mumbai. In 2018, when the company acquired Freemans SAS, a French battery management system provider, its founder Alexandre Collet joined Aryan as co-founder. That helped Ion Energy accelerate its pivot from being a battery-swapping provider to a battery management and intelligence provider. Today, it is fast evolving into an advanced electronics and cloud software platform provider for the EV sector and the energy storage industry.

The company has two business units. The first is Maxwell, which is the electronics hardware-plus-embedded-software systems provider, including the battery management system. The unit has about 75 customers—mostly two-wheeler and three-wheeler makers—in India and 16 other countries. Among its customers are Airbus, Tata Motors, Ola and Okinawa Scooters.

Ion Energy started out with the idea of offering battery-swapping, but the founders quickly realised that their technology for improving the battery life and performance was a much better way forward.

“We also realised that there was no independent Indian company building advanced electronics for the EV market,” Aryan tells Forbes India. The field is dominated by multinational companies from Europe and the US. “We saw a big gap where India has an advanced engineering talent base that ends up working in the Indian development centres of these foreign companies… we want to retain that talent and export from India.”

In addition to its current flagship, the battery management system, Ion Energy has released a telematics control system and expects to launch two more products in the coming year.

The company’s second business unit is Altergo, which is a digital twin platform for predictive analytics. Altergo helps companies manage fleets of EVs or large solar and storage installations. Another example is a utility-scale grid that is trading energy in the North American market. The unit is only about a year old and is already managing 2 GW of electricity storage, Aryan says.

“The idea is to build a portfolio of all the advanced electronics products that go into building high-performance electric vehicles and energy storage systems,” he says.  

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(This story appears in the 19 November, 2021 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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