Could discarded electric car batteries from the likes of Tesla and Reva change the fortunes of electricity-starved schools in India? Former race car engineer Shiv Rajendran thinks so and has dedicated his life to making this a reality. Primary education in India is underfunded and there is a massive shortage of both teachers and infrastructure. It is widely believed that technology can be the answer by providing scale that is not dependent on physical infrastructure. The only catch is electricity to power classrooms – something which most schools have little or no access to.
From his experience of working for the world’s first ever electric race car team, Shiv knew that their batteries degrade to 70% of original capacity in a few years making them unusable for the cars but infinitely usable for classroom gadgets like tablets and projectors. Shiv believes that a battery from one electric car can end up providing 60 power units that will have the ability to impact 4000 students.
He decided to convert his passion into a way of addressing the huge disparity in quality of education, which he witnessed first-hand growing up in india. Giving up a cushy job and its material comforts, he started Totus Power Solutions and after many nights sleeping in a garage has managed to get pilot projects off the ground in Mumbai and Hyderabad. The impact even at this early stage, has been phenomenal making concrete impact on the lives of about 600 students.
While Totus has won accolades and recognition in start-up competitions around the world and has a ready prototype as well as an existing production facility, the funds shortfall in taking the prototype to final production stages is $40000 (approx. Rs. 25,00,000). Totus has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise this amount and you can contribute anything from $5 to $25000. Depending on your contribution, you could power Totus further, by sponsoring a child, a child and his/her best friend, or entire classrooms and schools. Not only will you receive continuous updates on the progress of your child, classroom or school, but also some mementos (pictures below) that serve as reminders of your contribution in this long journey to providing every student their fundamental right to quality education.
We all start the new year with a pledge to learn and do something new but millions of school-children in India, cannot make even the simplest commitment to themselves due to an absence of infrastructure and opportunity. You can make this difference in 2015, by empowering them through Totus power.