As the Indian government implemented a battery swapping policy and established stricter standards for developing India’s electric vehicle ecosystem, the year’s Budget is crucial for the EV industry. The government’s battery swapping policy and interoperability standards for electric vehicles (EVs) were unveiled in the Budget to address the charging infrastructure, which is one of the main obstacles to EV adoption.
Honda Motor Co.’s subsidiary for battery swap services, Honda Power Pack Energy India (HEID), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) have launched Honda e: swap services as of August 6 in Bengaluru. HEID operates it at HPCL petrol stations.
The battery swapping service in India will commence with electric auto-rickshaws due to the establishment of HEID in November 2021. Rickshaw drivers can stop at the closest battery stations, which are in the process of installation across a few more cities, and swap out drained batteries for fully charged ones, courtesy of HEID’s battery swap service. Using this service will lower drivers’ initial investment costs for EVs and ease their worries about running out of battery and range.
HEID has already installed its battery exchangers in strategic areas among HPCL’s Bengaluru retail sites. Also, it has begun operating for electric auto rickshaws that use Honda Mobile Power Pack e:
Phase by Phase
By next year HEID intends to build a battery swap network in Bengaluru with more than 70 stations. Furthermore, the service would gradually extend to other big cities depending on the performance in Bengaluru.
HEID will concentrate on three actions, according to Kiyoshi Ito, president and CMD of Honda Power Pack Energy India. The company will expand its battery swap network in Bengaluru, guaranteeing service reliability with a highly integrated system monitoring each specific battery and exchanger. They will also provide support to automakers who are creating EVs using the Honda Mobile Power Pack e:
According to Sandeep Maheshwari, HPCL’s executive director for retail, the company is committed to accelerating India’s switch to cleaner energy. He claimed there are 1,058 EV charging stations at HPCL retail locations around the nation. The company is now one of the biggest charge point operators since HPCL is initiating an alliance with HEID.
He claimed that the e:swap stations from HPCL and HEID will make it simple for e-auto rickshaws in Bengaluru to swap their batteries. The main barriers to EV adoption, such as high initial prices, range anxiety, and lengthy charging times, are all addressed by swappable batteries.
Sandeep Maheshwari further said that the electric versions of two- and three-wheelers are a perfect option for swapping due to their simple design and the small battery packs required to function. He asserts that HPCL, with its 20,000+ retail locations across the nation and significant presence in all cities, will provide scalability and efficient operations while Honda brings best-in-class technology to e: swap.
The e: swap station will only service electric three-wheelers for now.
The battery-sharing service was tested and tweaked for safety and ease at HPCL outlets in Thane and two other locations before its launch, HPCL said.
The adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs), which are more environmentally friendly than Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, is fraught with difficulties because charging an EV battery takes longer than filling a fuel (Petrol/Diesel) tank.
However, the company pointed out that battery switching enables users to quickly swap their dead batteries for fully charged ones at e: swap stations.
Customers may also borrow batteries separately from the vehicles under the Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) model. The purchase cost of an EV up front gets reduced by borrowing the battery.
Why is it necessary for EV adoption to have battery swapping services?
Manufacturers of EVs and their components have been working to lower the cost, simplify charging, and increase the viability of EVs to increase demand. One of the most significant fixes for the problems of conventional EVs is battery swapping.
According to estimates, batteries account for 40% to 50% of the cost of an EV. When the user switches to EVs without batteries, this expense can reduce, making EVs more affordable for consumers. Battery swapping is a notable alternative for India’s lack of fast evolution in infrastructure investment, making it cheaper. Battery swapping could develop into a sufficient, reasonable, accessible, and dependable alternative if key market leaders continue to support this transformation.
Exploring the strategy of the policy
Here we explore the strategies used to implement battery swapping services and review the main components of the draft “Battery Swapping Policy” that Niti Aayog published on April 20, 2022, to do so.
The Central Government of India and state governments have also implemented additional policies, incentives, and programs to support the development of a full battery swapping ecosystem in India to spur prospective investment and widespread adoption.
Key Features of the Policy
To bolster the EV industry and accelerate widespread EV adoption, the Central government had already announced the “Policy” in its union budget for the fiscal year 2022–2023. Further, the policy would make it possible to recognize “energy” or “battery” as a service, help the EV infrastructure development, and promote the use of EVs in public transit.
It’s important to remember that the policy emphasizes 2Ws, 3Ws, and light electric power trains (“LEV”) among lightweight category vehicles. In this scenario, further included are E-rickshaws and ECarts, designed to encourage replacing batteries with Advanced Chemistry Cells (“ACC”) to lower battery costs.
These are the main goals of the policy.
- To provide EV consumers more freedom by developing battery swapping as an alternative to time-consuming charging facilities.
- To Establish the technical principles, standards, and procedures necessary to enable interoperability throughout the ecosystem for battery swapping.
- Managing the issues with financing and regulation that manufacturers or service providers confront.
- To foster collaboration between various market participants, such as battery suppliers, battery original equipment manufacturers (OEM), EV OEMs, banking institutions, etc.
- To create an ecosystem that can offer integrated services to the public.
- To ensure improved battery lifetime management, which includes maximizing utilization and recycling.
This policy is in effect from the day it was made public until March 31, 2025, after which the Ministry of Power (“MoP”) has the authority to examine, update, and prolong its effectiveness.
The enhanced battery swapping network will promote regular consumers’ confidence in pushing harder and adopting EVs. It will also reduce range troubles. Likewise, it will bring about the standardization of the EV battery manufacturing process and boost the nation’s EV ecology. Meanwhile, our government is handling crucial issues such as the range per charge requirement, GST for swapping services in line with EVs, and how consumers can use existing EV subsidy programs. Further, the government is taking several positive actions regarding interoperability standards.
As a viable option for two- and three-wheelers, which make up more than 80% of all vehicles in a country like India, battery swapping infrastructure can support EV adoption and development. India’s shift to e-mobility must accelerate with the help of an effective and efficient battery-swapping infrastructure.
The battery swapping policy must avoid restricting different aspects of the swapping production chain and stay aware of the infancy phase of the battery-swapping ecosystem in India. The primary advantages of battery swapping infrastructure can happen when leading companies support the shift. It can assist in creating an ecology and infrastructure that prioritizes consumer demands, security, and comfort.