Our belief: A person may do an immense deal of good,
if they do not care who gets the credit for it.
What Are We Building?
A low cost, portable, Lithium-Ion battery pack that can be endlessly replenished! At Totus Power, my team and I are building such a device (christened Jupiter6) from used electric vehicle (EV) batteries. These batteries still have sufficient capacity after their automotive life, but are now prematurely recycled. Our short term objective is to enable solar power access for families and schools in low-income communities in developing countries. Each unit of Jupiter6 charges via solar panels, or an AC adapter and can power many phones, tablets and lamps (Capacity: 300 Wh), replacing toxic lead acid batteries or kerosene lamps. Jupiter6 works like Lego, with the used EV battery and control electronics in separate sections that snap together. Thereby exhausted batteries can be easily replaced, and returned for recycling.
Along with our partners we are piloting a full operational model that aims to comply with all current and future recycling regulations. Our long term objective is to make this knowledge freely available and facilitate the reuse of these batteries in social impact projects worldwide, maximizing the value of used electric car batteries from all manufacturers. Product stage: Pre-production prototype under development for field trials;
Update: After working on this since 2013, I sadly announce that we have retired the idea behind Totus Power. We concluded that it just isn’t commercially viable to reuse old EV batteries in developing countries. The full analysis is available on – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/economic-unviability-reusing-old-electric-vehicle-rajendran/. Thanks for your interest. Regards, Siva Rajendran (Former CEO and Founder of Totus Power).
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The Problem – Energy Storage Ignored!
The problem we seek to address is the lack of access to clean solar power in developing countries because of expensive batteries. On the other-side, useful batteries from old electric vehicles (EV) are wasted by premature recycling. Why can’t these batteries be used to solve the problem of energy access? That is the premise of our work.
In developing countries, over 700 million people live in low-income communities without electricity infrastructure, but they can have power now via solar panels. However, the penetration of solar power in this population is minimal. Batteries account for 60% – 70% of the cost of solar power and are still prohibitively expensive. By 2020, there will be enough old EV batteries to power 1 Million low-income families a year. By reusing electric car batteries in low-income communities, we can solve a real need while providing tangible benefits to the automaker, in a regulatory compliant program.
The BBC recently featured our idea on their science show, BBC Horizons. You can learn more about the problem via that feature listed below (http://bbc.in/25wrwWy)
January 2017 We received a very warm welcome at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, where our 3D model was unveiled in addition to making the evening news; Channel 7, Detroit
November 2016 DHL invites Totus Power to present at the 2016 DHL Innovation Day held in Germany. The event was a first step to explore options to work together and solve some of the logistical challenges involved in the project.
October 2016 Rolex announces Totus Power as one of the 30 finalists selected from 2,300 applicants for the 2016 Rolex Award for Enterprise.
January 2016 Totus Power featured on BBC Horizons (Episode: Circular economy), one of the longest running science and innovation programs on the BBC.
September 2015 TechCrunch covers Singularity University’s investment in Totus Power.
January 2015 Forbes, Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune cover Totus Power’s work.
November 2014 Totus Power wins the Good Money Challenge (2014), held by Marquette University and The Brady Corp (Milwaukee, Wisconsin).
October 2014 Impact Engine funds Totus Power. Impact Engine is a Chicago based accelerator that supports businesses addressing today’s societal or environmental challenges.
May 2014 Totus Power wins two top prizes at the prestigious 2014 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition conducted at the University of Pennsylvania.
February 2014 Totus Power voted as the “Best Startup Idea of 2013” by SeedStars World in Switzerland, competing against startups from 20 countries.
November 2013 Totus Power names as one of the Top 3 funded startups of the Startup Chile program, 2013. The performance was covered by one of the judges on the Huffington Post.