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Why battery swapping is a need in EV adoption

Common concerns in India include a lack of charging infrastructure, range anxiety, upfront battery costs, and the time required to charge a battery. Some of these issues may be alleviated by battery swapping. In order to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, the Indian government has released the third update to the charging guidelines, in line with the expectations of their various stakeholders. India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated in the recently announced Union Budget 2022-23 that the government will implement a battery-swapping policy with interoperability standards to help accelerate the country’s adoption of EVs. Charging and swapping infrastructure require a long-awaited push toward standardization.

Adoption on a large scale among the general public can occur only if a consumer can easily plug in or swap their battery at any charging operator station. Currently, the charging technology available for the majority of products on the market, two and three-wheelers, is slow charging, similar to your standard geyser plug-point. Fast charging is available to some extent with DC001, a 15-kW point, for Euler and Log9 products, as well as some proprietary fast charging networks that are product specific, such as Ola and Ather two-wheelers. A few players, such as Jio BP and Sun Mobility, have battery-swapping networks, but their networks are not designed for mass adoption. The majority of fast-charging stations being built across the country are geared toward personal vehicle adoption. Interoperability is a key component of the new government policy on battery swapping. It provides much-needed standardization in battery and plug design, allowing for compatibility across vehicle form factors. The lack of charging infrastructure, range anxiety, upfront battery costs, and the time required to charge a full battery have all been major deterrents to global EV adoption.

Battery swapping allows existing fossil fuel-based vehicle users to overcome many of these deterrents by having a fully charged vehicle at the same time they used to fill their fuel tanks at a petrol bunk, as well as reduce the upfront cost of the vehicle by purchasing it without a battery. Battery swapping in smaller vehicle forms, such as two-wheelers and electric cycles, presents an excellent market fit for India. With a focus on standardizing battery interoperability, this market has enormous potential to accelerate the transition to electric two-wheelers by 2025. The biggest advantage that users see in battery swapping is reduced downtime when compared to plug-in charging. The average city commuter travels between 35 and 70 kilometers per day. Most high-speed electric two-wheelers currently have an on-road range of 80-120 km, making swapping a great solution for only certain use case scenarios where range requirement per full charge is high and downtime is required to be minimal, such as commercial delivery vehicles.

How does OEM matter in battery swapping? 

EV owners will be able to swap out discharged batteries for charged ones at various swapping stations thanks to battery swapping infrastructure. This solves the issue of charging station installation while also alleviating drivers’ concerns about the range of their EVs. EV owners will be able to save money on battery purchases by leasing batteries through the battery swapping infrastructure. When compared to charging at a battery station, this takes only a few minutes and requires less infrastructure. Superior battery swapping infrastructure also helps to reduce the consumer’s upfront cost of the vehicle, resulting in a halving of the vehicle’s price. The threat of technological obsolescence is eliminated, and safety is guaranteed. Users can now choose from a larger portfolio of models that fit their style and needs.

This is accompanied by a subscription-based model that allows consumers to select the best technology available at the best price. This is exactly similar to how a user selects a service provider for connectivity and can switch back, depending on the quality of the services available. The superior battery swapping infrastructure also enables users, battery service providers, and original equipment manufacturers to gain access to finance through asset sharing (OEMs). The electric vehicle Industry is nearly non-existent and highly fragmented today. Consumer behaviour and conditions differ in the Indian market in both behavioural and operational terms, such as driving. As a result, unless extensive local testing and learning are conducted in accordance with this infrastructure, EVs will fail.

What is the need for battery swapping? 

With the battery-swapping market scenario, EV manufacturers and stakeholders should facilitate the phased development of a swapping ecosystem and its infrastructure, which is linked to the EV market’s maturity. The battery policy should be targeted, identifying priority vehicle segments and enabling the rapid adoption of EV battery-swapping solutions in those segments where battery swapping is most valuable. A dense battery-swapping infrastructure network provides a significant advantage for establishing a battery-as-a-service business model. As India moves toward battery interoperability, this model allows EV owners to lease batteries from OEMs or other battery-swapping solution providers, rather than paying the upfront cost of the battery when purchasing. Interoperable swapping infrastructure can result in faster adoption.

One of the biggest concerns in the battery-as-a-service business model is ‘who exactly owns the battery’? The other question that arises provided this is that, if we do not know who owns the battery, then how do we expand the battery life? Most importantly, are OEMs, both vehicle and battery manufacturers, as well as charging operators, ready to be interoperable? Electric mobility is one of the most rapidly evolving industries; the next five years will truly revolutionize how we move people and goods around the world.


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    Delta Tower-54, Institutional Area, Sector 44,
    Gurugram, Haryana - 122003
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