All Charged Up
Updated: Dec 23, 2022
Mr Prateek Saxena, Founder and CEO of Toronto-based Hygge Energy, has worked in the energy industry for over 30 years. He started his career with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and ExxonMobil. Later, he worked withthe Ontario Power Authority (OPA), where he designed major demand response and smart meter programs, and then at Tech Mahindra, where his innovative bent of mind and perseverance led to his selection as the in-house entrepreneur; this is where the idea of Hygge Energy began to take shape. Mr. Anand Mahindra presented Prateekwith the Mahindra Group's prestigiousInnovation Award in 2015 and 2017 during the latter’s incubation period there. Following this, Hygge Energy spun off and was incubated within MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.
Prateek founded Hygge Energy with the aim to create a renewable energy and carbon trading marketplace that would enablenations around the world meet their net-zero targets as per COP26 and encourage a culture of sharing and giving back to the community.
Soon after Hygge Energy got approved for patents surrounding renewable energy tracking, recording and trading, they got a timely opportunity in the form of an EV charging pilot with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) in Bangalore, India, which was supported by their patented algorithms.In 2021, Hygge Energy India Services (Hygge India) – Hygge Energy’s Indian entity – was incorporated in Mumbai.
Hygge India has set out to revolutionise electric vehicle charging through their patented technology. There are several problems facing the Indian EV charging industry today. The grid is not resilient enough to allow EV charging; when EV chargers are set up, the grid infrastructure requires costly and time-consuming upgrades costing up to ₹50 lakh. The resulting increased transformer size causes higher sanctioned load and electricity bills as well. The load factor on the grid is too high; as demand peaks for EV charging, the grid would not have the capacity to support it since EV charging is going to add 50% to peak demand. The grid energy mix is not renewables-centric, and hence neither is the EV charging source. And, most interestingly, individual EV charging station operators are not in a position to consolidate carbon credits, leading to a lack of aggregation of carbon credits for monetization.
Hygge’s EV charging solution, which can be integrated to any EV charging or battery swapping system, addresses all of these problems. It was designed with three essential objectives in mind: EVs are charged using low-cost solar or other renewable energy, hence promoting truly zero-emissions mobility; no upgrades are required in the grid infrastructure, hence avoiding delays and expenses; and grid load dependency decreases for charging station, hence improving grid resiliency, decreasing electricity bills and drastically reducing the payback period of rooftop solar installations. Hygge’s solution proved that a rooftop solar-powered fuel station can not only reduce its electricity bill by 80%, but also provide 8 hours of EV charging without using any electricity from the grid.As for carbon trading, Hygge’s solution opens up access to a $10 billion carbon trading market for EV charging. It is also a huge opportunity for companies like IOCL to generate carbon credits.
According to Prateek, “Carbon credits are a function of two elements: renewable generation at any given point of time, and how that renewable generation is consumed to offset a carbon emitting resource. Hygge's algorithms not only maximize renewable generation, but also identify and offset the carbon emitting resource with the renewable energy generated at any given point of time.”
Hygge’s platform enables tracking, measurement, optimization, allocation, accounting and trading of renewable energy for EV charging. It is facilitated by the Hygge Box, a proprietary customer-premises IoT device that leverages embedded blockchain and machine learning-based AI. The solution is supported by a next-gen mobile app – Hygge EV – that, in addition to scheduling and booking EV charging slots in advance, tracks payments as well as carbon credits earned by users.
Hygge EV is an end-to-end solution for EV drivers and EV charging station owners alike. It facilitates and simplifies the entire EV charging experience through an easy-to-use booking and scheduling system, and payment and settlement system, whose intuitive interface allows users to instantly book and pay for charging slots on EV chargers. These bookings can be made according to the user’s preferred location, time and charging duration. The app facilitates battery swapping as well, wherein the user can book a fully charged battery to replace a discharged one. Hygge EV also accommodates fleet owners, for whom it facilitates fleet management, payment management, driver management, bulk booking of charging slots, and tracking and troubleshooting of batteries.
Hygge has ambitious plans in India that they are well on their way towards executing. They have appointed franchisees to take the solution to both rural and urban areas, including housing societies, the hospitality industry, malls, and public parking places, which could be more than a ₹250 crore opportunity in the next 5 to 7 years. Other than this, Hygge is also partnering and collaborating with battery OEMs and EV manufacturers to create an integrated and seamless experience for Hygge’s customers and EV drivers.
There are currently seven projects under the Hygge umbrella across North America, Europe and Asia. Hyggehas tied up with some large investment houses in India to help them fund their growth over the next 5 years. To start with, they are in the midst of raising ₹ 110 crore by the end of next year.