Battery Swapping in India – Complete Guide For EV Owners
In recent times, the automobile industry has witnessed rapid growth, replacing conventional vehicles with electric vehicles. As per statistics in the financial year 2021, Tata Motors sold the most electric passenger vehicles in India with more than 4.2 thousand units. In this global era, in many countries battery swapping grows to simplify the day in day out the struggle of electric vehicle owners. Battery swapping technology acts like electric reservoirs reducing the time and effort of EV owners by replacing discharged batteries.
Battery Swapping In Electric Vehicles (EV)
Following important technological developments, electric vehicles are growing in popularity. Until 2021, Norway had the largest share of electric vehicles. Two major reasons recorded for the same are – the strong incentives put forward by the government, and the availability of charging ports. With consumers becoming interested in plug-in electric vehicles the technology and charging infrastructure are becoming accessible and practical. This is where Battery Swapping In Electric Vehicles (EV) comes into play. The availability of swappable battery outlets will pave the way in making electric vehicles a viable option for car users.
Electric Vehicles due to the high cost of ownership and acquisition, are almost 2 times costlier in terms of sales. This comparison with ICE-powered vehicles, when analyzed further indicated that at least half the cost is from the battery pack. To reduce the cost, many manufacturers in the industry tackle this issue by offering batteries separately from a vehicle.
In such cases Battery Swapping is a boon to EV owners, who can buy vehicles without batteries and utilize battery swapping to power their vehicles, reducing the initial cost. The establishment of Battery Swapping Stations will play a major role in socially securing the fearful mindset of individuals with batteries getting empty without finding a charging station.
Even the charging process at its best requires almost an hour to recharge 80 percent of the battery. Thus battery swapping becomes a time-efficient solution. The ability to simply replace the empty battery with a new one makes the usage of EV a desirable choice among its owners.
Battery Swapping Business Model
In an EV, the battery can be recharged when it runs out of power. This recharging process either takes a long time allocation or can be done by the battery swap method. An EV owner can lease charged batteries when it drains out and pay for the electricity consumed. The energy operator of any outlet will purchase batteries in bulk and set up charging stations to charge discharged batteries.
The major advantage of exchanging batteries is that the electricity network system does not need to be reinvested. Exchanging a full-charge swappable battery is faster than vehicles that charge for hours. With this vehicle ownership and the batteries can be separated to reduce consumer risk.
Based on this development, a business opportunity can come up with a battery station with a business model. The Battery Swapping business model is likely to have six functions
- Customer Segments
- Value Propositions
- Formulation of Competitive Strategies
- Value Chains
- Cost Structures
- Position of Corporate Strategies in the Value Network.
This business model will cater to the needs of EV drivers and save them from the cost of purchasing a battery. The leasing and battery swapping service together in a business model is less time-consuming and requires minimum infrastructure.
TYPES OF BATTERY SWAPPING STATION?
The Government of India, in its infrastructure handbook released by the NITI Aayog for EV charging, explains – There are two types of EV Battery Swapping stations
1. Manual Battery Swapping Station
In a manual battery-swapping station, batteries are placed and removed from the individual slots. This process is done manually, usually by hand. These stations are modular and occupy a minimal amount of space. With the battery pack becoming smaller and lighter in size and weight, they can easily be managed by a person or two.
2. Autonomous Battery Swapping Station
In the Autonomous Battery-Swapping Station, the process becomes semi/fully automated. The robotic arm is used for 4W. However, we need more space to set up an autonomous battery swapping station. This in comparison to the manual ones tends to cost more. Also, battery packs are larger and heavier and require mechanical assistance.
Battery Swapping In India
India in present times is aggressively pushing itself toward electrification. In Union Budget 2022-23, the Centre made great emphasis on electric vehicles or EVs becoming the future of mobility in India in the next decade. According to the Economic Times in the automotive and transportation sector, the rising fuel prices have pushed buyers to think of more affordable vehicle options. This financial year has witnessed an over 5x growth in the annual sales of electric two-wheelers. Government can ensure the success of electric vehicles in the coming years by taking a few key steps such as –
- Stringent emission regulations
- High level of localization
- Concrete safety standards
- Established technology roadmaps
- Subsidies and incentives for manufacturers and consumers
Battery Swapping swapping allows companies to offer batteries as a service through lease or subscription models, with the battery being the most expensive part of an EV. This majorly helps in bringing down the cost of owning and operating the vehicle.
Battery Swapping Policy
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget Speech 2022 mentioned Battery Swapping Policy. She mentioned the focus on battery swap services for three-wheeled auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers such as electric scooters and motorcycles. This is expected to bring in a boost for sectors like last-mile delivery and ride-sharing.
The Finance Minister while presenting this year’s Budget said, “To promote a shift to the use of public transport in urban areas…special mobility zones with zero fossil fuel policy to be introduced…Considering space constraints in urban areas, a ‘Battery Swapping Policy’ will be brought in.”
To improve efficiency in the EV ecosystem, the Government of India will encourage private players to develop sustainable and innovative business models for battery swapping. On certain raw materials like pig iron, ferroalloys, ferrous products, copper waste, copper scrap, and aluminium scrap, the centre has slashed duties. This will to some extent ease the pressure of high raw material costs which have burdened the industry. Battery swapping technology addresses the key challenge of limited charging infrastructure. The new policy to scale up electric mobility could lead to increased user confidence.
Rishabh Jain, Programme Lead, CEEW Centre for Energy Finance says, “Startups and established players could explore the possibility of battery/energy as a service business model to scale up their effort of setting up battery swapping or charging infrastructure”,
Future Of Battery Swapping: Is Battery Swapping Sustainable?
The Transportation Sector soon is about to experience a massive shift to electric vehicles (EVs). From an environmental point of view, this will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and overcome the energy crisis and climate change. With EVs being adopted for mobility around the globe, the development of battery swapping is bound to make the future interesting in the automotive industry.
In the B2B industry, brands like Flipkart, Amazon, Delhivery, and Dominoes are now upgrading their business model and planning to utilize the Swapping Battery benefits to reduce delivery costs and save the environment. Another famous example is Ola, an Indian multinational ride-sharing company for e-rickshaws that has its own battery swapping unit. Situated in Gurgaon the station has around 14 battery-swapping units with 20 battery packs per unit powering 100+ e-rickshaws. The adoption rate of EVs in India especially for the smaller vehicle segment will witness exponential growth in upcoming years. As the technology accelerates, it is expected for a lot of private players and government-backed agencies to enter the battery swapping space.
Electric Vehicles are the next revolution in the automobile industry that will take us a step closer to a greener tomorrow. Battery swapping thus in present times becomes a feasible solution for commercial and privately owned Electric vehicles for emission-free driving.