MUMBAI, INDIA — The fable of the little mice and the big elephants is a popular folk tale in India.
It’s a parable from the ancient Panchatantra collection about how creatures big and small can work together in harmony during times of great crisis without hurting one another.
The moral of the story — that no one should be underestimated – would apply to eCAMION Inc., a Scarborough outfit with 20 employees.
On Friday, the green energy storage firm announced an alliance with L&T Technology Services, India’s largest engineering company, which employs about 90,000 people.
Thanks in part to a $300,000 research grant from Queen’s Park, eCAMION, in connection with Ryerson University, will introduce to India its high-tech battery system already in use by Toronto Hydro and other North American utilities.
Bhupendra Bhate, L&T’s chief delivery officer, stressed that in business size doesn’t matter.
“Today in the new digital world there is nothing like a big company and a small company. There are a lot of those new companies, which are coming up … with new technology,” Bhate told the Toronto Star.
“That’s what really matters — not really the size of the company,” he said, adding the governments of India and Ontario helped put eCAMION on L&T’s radar screen.
“In India … there is always a power deficit. This is the right type of product for the Indian market, which has a lot of problems,” Bhate said of the Scarborough company’s battery technology that allows for electricity to be stored.
“The market can huge. It can create many jobs. We are designing, they are supplying the batteries, we will find a manufacturer,” he said, anticipating the pilot project in the state of Tamil Nadu will expand to other regions.
Motioning at Hari Subramaniam, eCAMION’s CEO , Bhate smiled and said: “It’s win for his company, for our company, the (eventual) manufacturer — and for both countries.”
Subramaniam said the Tamil Nadu pilot “will be the first community energy-storage device in all of India.”
“Think of it as the sun shines or the wind blows when you don’t really need it and the wires can only handle so much. So the idea is that the electrons have to go somewhere so you store them and you release them when you want to make sure your grid is more stable. You don’t get power losses or surges,” he said.
“The Indian government is bringing a lot of renewable energy online, which is making their grids unstable and the only way to solve that is storage. We’re in a unique position to help.”
Energy storage for wind and solar power makes for a “safer and more flexible grid” — and is good for the environment, added Subramaniam.
“If you bring more storage online you can actually have more renewable energy online because it doesn’t make it unstable,” he said.
“You can also bring electric vehicles online, which is something India would like to do from a political point of view.”
Indeed, the smog in New Delhi is the worst in the world with more and more gasoline and diesel vehicles on the roads each year. Compounding the problem is the widespread burning of fuel for cooking.
Because Subramaniam wants to continue to manufacture its components in Ontario and ship to India, he said the company “may have to double” its workforce if the plan takes off.
That kind of talk energizes Ontario Economic Development, Infrastructure, and Trade Minister Brad Duguid, who in Mumbai as part of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s trade mission to India.
“If I looked jacked up this morning … it’s because we’ve had 10 fantastic days here in India,” Duguid told 300 Indian and Canadian business leaders and academics gathered Friday for a confab to boost trade.
“This thing will be the most important trade mission that … Ontario has ever embarked upon. It really is opening up doors for others to the global economy.”