Electric vehicle makers bet big on battery swapping stations

Move to cut cost of acquisition drastically, say manufacturers

Electric vehicle makers bet big on battery swapping stations

Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10

At a time when lack of charging infrastructure is hindering the growth of electric vehicles, many manufacturers have come out with a unique solution. They are in process of creating an ecosystem of swappable battery stations in association with service providers. Piaggio, a three-wheeler manufacturer, has already set up few such stations in the tricity of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. Evolet and Mahindra & Mahindra are also in the process to set up such stations.

In such a scenario, a customer doesn’t need to pay the cost of battery while buying a vehicle, as the battery will be owned by the manufacturer. Thus, the cost of the vehicle will come down significantly as the battery constitutes 40-60% of cost of the vehicle. The customers will have to pay every time they swap the battery. The facility allows users to replace a used battery with a fully charged one instantly.

Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd (PVPL), a 100% subsidiary of the Italian Piaggio Group, claimed it is the first manufacturer to launch swappable battery for its electric three-wheeler Ape’ E-City.

Malind Kapur, SVP – Marketing, Product Marketing & Channel Management, CV Business, PVPL, said, “We believe in providing path-breaking solutions in the last mile transportation segment with the best-in-class technology offerings to our customers. To ensure customer convenience, three quick inter-change battery swapping stations have already been installed in the tricity. Two more are expected to be operational by February 15. More additional charging stations are expected to be added by the next month. This will ensure that our customers are able to swap their batteries and get fully charged batteries within five minutes.”

Evolet India, a Gurugram-based startup, has also plans to set up similar kind of stations.

“Our electric scooter venture, Evolet aims to open 100 plus dealerships across India by the end of this year. The company also plans to set up series of battery charging stations with solar panels in various cities for ease of EV customers. Light-weight swappable battery is the top-most strategy for ensuring high customer satisfaction,” said Sqn Ldr Prerana Chaturvedi, Executive Director & CEO, Evolet.

“We are focusing on the charging infrastructure for the electrification of automotive industry. We are working not only for Evolet customers but also for other brands as well,” she added.

Mahindra & Mahindra’s Atom electric powertrain features swappable batteries to extend the vehicle’s range. Also, e-Alfa Cargo has an optional swappable battery pack.

Ola Electric has already announced plans to bring one million EVs on Indian roads by 2022 and set up an ecosystem involving battery-swapping stations. The cab aggregator has said it will focus on electric two and three-wheelers to achieve this milestone. In addition to the manufacturers, a number of service providers are also working on creating an ecosystem of swappable batteries, thus enabling faster adoption of electric mobility in the country.

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