India to introduce Battery Swapping Policy soon. We all know the future of vehicle is electric. The days of petrol/fuel-run motor car/bike is soon going to over. The very next generation may likely to talk to their children about this as a part of history – the story of filling up the fuel from filling station and many more…!
The automobile industry is booming in electric directions. EV is going to be favrioute to all of us. Owing to soaring fuel prices and growing environmental concerns, it is an inevitable thing. Electric vehicle (EV) technology is at a peak stage at present.
But there is a lot of challenges to overcome – and the rider’s main concern is the run time in single charge and time to get fully charge your battery. Keeping this in mind, NITI Ayog, (Government of India) has drafted a battery swapping policy. With this any vehicle owner doesn’t need to wait to charge their battery at charging station. Instead, they can just be able to replace the drained battery to fully charged battery from the charging stations.
India is on the cusp of an e-mobility revolution led by the two-wheeler (2W) and three-wheeler (3W) vehicle segments. 2Ws account for 70-80% of all private vehicles, and 3Ws play a critical role for public transit, freight transport and last mile connectivity in cities. While the upfront costs of EVs are typically higher than internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, operation and maintenance costs over their lifetime tend to be lower. Government has launched several supporting initiatives such as the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME) I and II to promote EVs.
EVs are traditionally purchased with “fixed” batteries which can only be charged using the power supply while housed within the EV. Several bottlenecks related to charging of batteries act as a hurdle in adoption of EVs. To ensure a smooth ride over long distance the battery must not weight more than 10KG and have a cylindrical cell format with a minimum of 1 KW/h.
What is Battery Swapping?
Battery swapping is an alternative that involves exchanging discharged batteries for charged ones. Battery swapping de-links the vehicle and fuel (in this case, the battery) and thereby leads to a reduction in the upfront cost of the vehicles.
Battery swapping is popularly used for smaller vehicles, such as two- and three-wheelers, which have smaller batteries that are easier to swap compared to other automotive segments where the same can be implemented mechanically.
Battery swapping offers three key advantages relative to charging—time-saving, space-efficient, and cost-effective—provided each swappable battery is actively used. Further, Battery swapping provides a level playing field to innovative and sustainable business models, such as ‘Battery as a Service’.
Considering the constraint of space in urban areas for setting up charging stations at scale, the Hon’ble Finance Minister in her Budget Speech of 2022–23 announced that the Union Government will introduce a Battery Swapping Policy and interoperability standards to improve efficiency in the EV ecosystem.
With regards to, battery as a service (BaaS), brands such as Ampere, Bounce Infinity, Okinawa, Ola and among others have already jumped into this model. Many other startups are also brainstorming – it is interesting to who is going to become Unicorn in BaaS.
The overall vision is to catalyse the large-scale adoption of EVs by improving efficient and effective use of scarce resources (viz. public funds, land, and raw materials for advanced cell batteries) for the delivery of customer centric services.
- Promote swapping of batteries with Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) batteries to decouple battery costs from the upfront costs of purchasing EVs, thereby driving EV adoption.
- Offer flexibility to EV users by promoting the development of battery swapping as an alternative to charging facilities.
- Establish principles behind technical standards that would enable the interoperability of components within a battery swapping ecosystem, without hindering market-led innovation
- Leverage policy and regulatory levers to de-risk the battery swapping ecosystem, to unlock access to competitive financing.
- Encourage partnerships among battery providers, battery OEMs and other relevant partners such insurance/financing, thereby encouraging the formation of ecosystems capable of delivering integrated services to end users.
- Promote better lifecycle management of batteries, including maximizing the use of batteries during their usable lifetime, and end of life battery recycling.
- Under the BaaS policy EV, consumers can now purchase a battery less scooters from OEMs and lowering the initial costs. You may not know but 40%-50% cost battery accounts alone for an EV.
- In addition to this, consumer can have the option of selecting the best suited technology at the best price via subscription plan from any BaaS provider.
- Since the batteries are uniform the cost of ownership for an end users will also be uniform or likely lower than that.
- Charging stations require more space, since vehicles need to be parked next to the chargers during the charging process. Battery swapping stations can stack multiple batteries on top of each other, and require limited parking, which would address space constraints in urban areas
- With existing technologies for e-2Ws and e-3Ws, regular charging takes at least 3 to 4 hours, adding to inconvenience and creating range anxiety. The resulting vehicle downtime is particularly significant for freight and shared mobility vehicles. Whereas, battery swapping is done in minutes, as the batteries are pre-charged in swapping stations.
- While battery swapping involves a greater number of batteries than conventional batteries, each swappable battery can be smaller in capacity (kWh), since range anxiety is a smaller concern
- Consumer can subscribe by paying regular subscription fee – daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.