Durapower batteries - A lithium battery with numerous wires
  • Sustainability
    • General Sustainability

Durapower: Powering the sustainable cities of the future

  • Article

How a Singapore lithium-ion battery company is driving fleets of electric vehicles around the world

Homegrown Durapower Group is a rising star in the global renewable energy sector. Launched in 2009, the company provide researches, designs and manufactures lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, along with a range of cutting-edge energy storage system solutions and distribution of battery charger point.

“Typically, an electric bus takes about five hours to slow charge. We are disrupting the market with innovative, lightweight batteries that have a fast-charge time of about 15 minutes,” says CEO Mr Kelvin Lim.

Today, Durapower has a global network of customers spread across 40 cities in 18 countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, China, India and Japan. The company’s success is being driven by both the quality of its products and its purpose, explains Mr Lim.

“As a company, we want to positively impact humanity by coming up with products and services that can tackle the effects of climate change,” he says.

“We’re passionate about promoting business practices that are clean, green and sustainable. It’s an approach that is helping to differentiate us in the market, and a message that is steadily catching on.”

Pioneering a new clean energy trend

Durapower has steadily grown its business both at home and overseas since its earliest days, when it provided battery solutions to a fleet of 30 hybrid electric buses in China.

Today, the company powers fleets of thousands of electric and hybrid vehicles around the world, from buses, trucks, cars to two and three-wheelers. The company’s advanced lithium-ion battery cell technology is also used for energy storage purpose within telecommunication power infrastructures and smart grids.

However, Durapower’s path to success hasn’t always been smooth. A major barrier it has had to overcome is a lack of awareness about clean energy storage solutions and what they can achieve.

“In some markets, there is a real resistance to adopting new technology, and we have needed to put in extra effort to change that mindset and make the benefits of our solutions known,” says Mr Lim. “If the policies, standards and infrastructure to support green businesses like ours are not in place, it can be much harder to propel business growth.”

In response, Mr Lim works proactively to help build the local and global renewable energy ecosystem wherever he can.

“My strategy has always been that by creating better public awareness about renewable energy, we can better grow our market,” he says. “That’s one reason I got involved with the Electric Vehicle Association of Asia Pacific as a board member and country representative. Durapower is also a member of the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore.”

Reaching a growth tipping point

Step by step, that strategy started to pay off. A turning point came in 2015, when the Singapore firm beat some of the world’s biggest names in lithium-ion battery production and won a tender to power a fleet of electric buses in the Dutch city of Eindhoven.

“People were asking: ‘But who is Durapower? Where does it come from?’” Mr Lim recalls with a chuckle.

Since then, the company has continued to forge ahead both at home and abroad. In April 2019, for example, PSA Corporation Limited awarded Durapower a contract worth over SGD 10 million to provide battery solutions to the port operator’s Automated Guided Vehicle fleet at Tuas mega port.

Solid support from a dedicated partner

“Durapower believes reliable and renewable energy sources should be an entitlement, not a privilege,” he says. “HSBC gets that and truly understands our green mission and vision. It is important that our banker understands the nature of our business and able to tailor solutions to support projects that the company embarks on.

“At HSBC, we recognise a rapidly changing climate presents an irreversible threat to societies and economies around the globe. As the world’s best bank for sustainable finance, we’re committed to enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy and helping clients like Durapower by providing credit and lending facilities as well as access to our global network.” says Ng Li Lian, Country Head of Business Banking at HSBC Singapore.

Powering a greener future

Looking ahead, Durapower is seeking to boost its strong overseas growth with capacity expansion, including setting up more assembly, manufacturing and research facilities in key geographic regions.

Other initiatives include exploring ways to give the spent batteries the company supplied to electric vehicle fleets a second life by taking them to rural locations that lack electricity.

“Batteries at the end of their lives still function at 80 per cent, so imagine the impact on humanity if we can recycle them for use in remote rural areas, where access to energy supplies is not readily available,” says Mr Lim.

By building on his company’s track record and continuing to launch innovative new products in the field of renewable energy, Mr Lim believes Durapower will further strengthen its standing in the international market. In his words, “Whatever the next chapter holds for us, I am confident that HSBC will be there to help us accelerate our growth and take the leap to the next level of success.”

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