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Rare-earth free motor tech company Chara raises $4.75 M in pre-series A

Bangalore-based Chara Technologies has raised a pre-series A round of $4.75M led by Exfinity Venture Partners. This round also had participation from Vietnam-based Big Capital, the venture arm of Bitexco and Log9 Materials. Existing investors Kalaari Capital and ciie.co participated in this round as well.

Chara is building a rare-earth free platform for designing, building, and deploying electric motors for EV, HVAC and various other applications. The motors will be based on a patent-pending variation of SRM (Switched Reluctance Motor) and SynRM technologies, and other magnet-free motor technologies. Chara’s proprietary Drive Control Firmware (DCF) is a suite of packages consisting of advanced motor control algorithms. The motor control algorithms are developed to extract maximum performance from Chara Motors. Using Model-Based Design (MBD), DCF gives peak motor performance while ensuring optimum efficiency, thermal management and smooth, ripple-free torque delivery.

Chara was founded in November 2019 by Ravi Prasad Sharma, Bhaktha Keshavachar, and Mahalingam Koushik. The Chara story began with an initial grant from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

So far, Chara has built motors for 2-Wheeler (hub and mid-mount), 3 & 4-Wheeler LCVs and HVAC use cases. The motors and their matching controllers are being field tested and are expected to go into production later this year. Chara also has several projects lined up to build motors and controllers for heavy commercial vehicles. Chara’s current motor range starts from fractional kW to 10’s of kW with voltage ranges from 48V to 400V. Higher voltages and powers will be built in the near future. Chara has filed patents in Motor design, controller design and Control algorithms for these Motor technologies”, added a company statement.

Mr Chinnu Senthilkumar, the Managing Partner at Exfinity, said, “To build SRM/Hybrid version of SRM motors, an interdisciplinary team with backgrounds in Electro-mechanical, power electronics and software domains is a must. We found that the Chara founding team is exemplary in this regard. Exfinity strongly believes that the EV story for South Asia & similar markets has to be contextualized and not replicated from the US and European markets. After our earlier investment in Log 9 Materials, Chara is part of our continued belief in this thesis. Chara Motors is also a great example for Atmanirbhar Bharat as it delinks the permanent magnet supply chain dependency from China and other countries.”

Speaking on the investment, Mr Preetinder Singh Panjrath, CFO – BIG Capital, said, “BIG Capital continues to support innovative technologies that will power the world of the future. As part of our commitment to environmentally friendly solution for land and aerospace markets, we were especially attracted to Chara motors with the focus on rare earth-free electric motors that are safer for the planet, more cost-efficient and offers better efficiency compared to legacy solutions.”

Also read: Rare-earth free motor technology explained by Chara Co-founders

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