23 March 2023
A Light-bulb Moment!
As an Indian pioneer in manufacturing the ‘World’s Smartest Lithium Battery’, Dr Rashi Gupta, aka Batterywali, is a force to reckon with within the industry.
Dr Rashi Gupta’s journey started with an idea to transform energy technology by improving its storage applications when in 2015, she started to manufacture the ‘World’s Smartest Lithium Battery’ which are highly efficient and helps with preventive and predictive monitoring. The smart batteries are enabled with AI and IoT, which also help to assist the consumers placed even in the remotest locations. Dr Gupta is the Founder & Managing Director of Vision Mechatronics Private Ltd, striving to continue her leadership in the fields of Renewable Energy, Robotics & Energy Storage technology. She has become a prominent name in the Renewable Energy Sector of India, with many laurels and accolades to go by, along with being a part of several government and international committees and associations for renewable energy.
Dr Gupta has also been relentlessly working on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment issues globally and is committed to promoting sustainable development. Besides, she has also been working relentlessly to advocate for ‘Energy Justice’ and ‘Energy Equality’ by facilitating rural electrification to ensure rural schools in India get access to clean and green energy, enabling them to be at par with the urban schools.
Excerpts of an interview with this ‘power’ lady:
You are fondly known as ‘Batterywali’, a women disruptor in the business of science and technology, a sector that is majorly dominated by men. Give us a glimpse into your journey as a women innovator and entrepreneur in the business of Renewable Energy.
Dr Rashi: The title ‘Batterywali’ is the symbol of respect, affection, and acceptance in the sector. I was the first woman entrepreneur in the ‘Lithium battery’ space. It was very easy to identify me with the notion that she is the only woman who does this battery thing, so I got the title of ‘Batterywali’, as in India you usually attach a wali or a walla to the person from whom we frequently purchase from or have an affinity to do business with.
What inspired you to build the World’s Smartest Lithium Battery?
Dr Rashi: We have been over-consuming finite resources, and there is a need to make conscious efforts in the direction of preserving these resources. We see technology and gadgets getting smarter every coming day, but we are stagnated with old technology in the battery segment. It was important to make the energy storage batteries smarter to cater to the challenging needs of the energy sector and keep up with the emerging trends. It was important to make battery technology more sustainable and circular. This led to making the world’s smartest lithium battery.
Electric vehicle uptake, projected to be a multi-billion-dollar opportunity in the country, will be a major demand-side driver for clean electricity generation assets. What opportunities are headed for Vision Mechatronics?
Dr Rashi: Electric vehicles are the technology we are counting on to make a cleaner, greener tomorrow. As a company, we are contributing with smart, safe and robust batteries for electric vehicles. We have an ample number of opportunities to support the growth in the sector. But the important aspect is that the EV also has a green charging source. So, we need to add more and more renewables with energy storage to clean the charging infrastructure. We have contributed to the energy storage sector by adding more Microgrids and helping institutions become green and energy independent.
As the CEO of a manufacturing company, how do you approach sustainability and minimise the environmental impact of your products?
Dr Rashi: Circularity and sustainability are the core values at Vision Mechatronics, which we imbibe in each of our products. We have taken all possible measures to reduce the environmental impact. We have built IOT-based smart features in our Lithium battery-based system to imbibe more circularity. We have preventive and protective monitoring features to prevent any kind of failure which saves much time, energy and money and gives the user complete peace of mind.
As a woman entrepreneur in the field of science and technology, have you faced any unique challenges or obstacles? How have you navigated those challenges, and what advice would you give other women looking to enter this field?
Dr Rashi: As a woman in the STEM field, I did face many challenges at the beginning of my career. But the only way I found to overcome this challenge was by facing it head-on with what I had learned. Knowledge is the tool to your success, and it was crucial for me to know my subject well. I just like to say that women need to keep upgrading themselves. Keep upskilling yourself constantly and have a rock-solid foundation, confidence, and faith in yourself. Women need to see themselves first as professionals; when they see themselves as professionals, everybody else around them will also see them as professionals, and this will create a long-standing impact and make a huge difference.
How does your company prioritise diversity and inclusion in its workforce, and what steps are you taking to create a more equitable and supportive work environment?
Dr Rashi: Diversity and inclusion are significant at Vision Mechatronics, and we first look at every individual as a human being and then as a professional. The differentiation between caste, creed, gender, nationality, etc are all made by us, and they can be easily overlooked when you really need a good professional. For us at Vision Mechatronics, what matters is being good at what you do; the rest of everything is secondary. While maintaining diversity among teams, we have achieved a Gender parity benchmark among all our management and technical departments to support the UN’s Sustainable goal of Gender Equality starting with the workplace.
What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the renewable energy sector in the coming years, and how do you see your company contributing to the industry's growth and success?
Dr Rashi: We foresee a lot of energy crisis coming in the following years, and energy storage is the key to energy security and energy independence. Energy comes in many forms, and electricity is one of them, with the way the world is moving towards a large electricity requirement every day. We are striving continuously to make our products better and more sustainable to avoid this Forthcoming energy crisis, we are ramping up facilities to cater to this large opportunity for energy storage that the world would need.
Can you share any exciting developments or projects that your company is currently working on, and what impact do you hope they will have on the industry and the world at large?
Dr Rashi: Battery disposal is pivotal in the entire battery lifecycle. While battery disposal is irrevocably challenging for industries and battery users, we are constantly engaging our R&D team to innovate programs and protocols that can assist the battery industry with innovations to curb this challenge. We have also continued with our paid internship in various Tech and STEM education careers to make way for young girls and boys to pursue STEM, and Tech careers without any hesitation and have made the process rewarding by allotting them real-time projects and mentorship to assist them in developing as students and future professionals. Since we have been, from the very beginning, advocating STEM education, it is our accountability to act and align with our beliefs to create a ripple impact by action.
Tell us about one habit that positively changed your life and contributed to your leadership skills.
Dr Rashi: Discovering my own energy changed my life radically, and I think that has contributed a lot to my leadership skills I discovered my own energy through spirituality. The one habit I do not miss is my ‘me time,’ my ‘me time’ with me has given me a lot of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment. It gives me time to visualise what I need for myself and what I need to do for my organisation. ‘Me time’ does not mean pursuing any hobby; It means just plainly spending time with yourself in silence and being at peace with your own yourself.
In honour of International Women's Day, can you share a story about a female mentor or role model who has had a significant impact on your career and how their example has influenced your own leadership style?
Dr Rashi: I think we all have a mentor at home, our mother. Mothers play a very significant role in shaping the lives of their children, and the same goes for me; my mother has impacted me in a way that deciding to be an entrepreneur as a career growing up was instinctive in a way because she gave me much independence and never differentiated between a male and a female child. The sense of gender equity was inbuilt right from childhood, which inculcated much independent thinking and gave me wings to fly.