By Srinath Srinivasan
Delhi-based Battery Smart aims to develop a dense battery swapping network to enable electric vehicles (EV) to avoid charging hassles, save time and thus bring down costs for EV owners and drivers. The startup has partnered with battery manufacturers to bring Lithium-ion batteries compatible with electric rickshaws and cargo vehicles in Delhi-NCR region.
“EV drivers can walk in, swap batteries and continue with their ride. There are smart meters on the vehicles which indicate when to swap. It would cost `100-`150 per swap and the range is 70-75 km,” says Pulkit Khurana, co-founder, Battery Smart. The drivers can also opt for different subscription plans.
The startup claims that EV drivers can increase their income by 50-75% by switching over to Smart Battery. The batteries are manufactured and owned by asset leasing companies such as OEMs or purely asset leasing companies and leased out on Battery Smart. The swapping stations are exclusively rented on contractual basis and the startup has no ownership over the stations.
“We are asset light and the only IP we own is our software platform. We have GPS enabled adapters and also temperature sensors on the vehicles that transmit location and temperature data respectively. These IoT devices are also not manufactured by us,” says Siddharth Sikka, co-founder, Battery Smart.
In addition, it aims to make a driver’s app to make it much more convenient and informative for the drivers and enable better operations for the company. As of now, it makes around 30% gross margin. The drivers are intimated in advance about the location tracking. The gathered data will be used to set up stations, apart from tracking the location of the battery and preventing any misuse or accident.
“We aim to have a swapping station every one km square area in Delhi-NCR region and in the next six months we will set up around 300 such stations. These locations will be based on the routes these drivers take so that they can locate the stations conveniently,” says Sikka.
Battery Smart has raised its seed round and has been doing 20,000 swaps a month since June last year.
“Today, OEMs are showing interest in this model and with our advanced analytics, we will be able to have a business model as good as China. Battery standardisation is also rapidly happening in the market today,” says Khurana.
The startup aims to include electric cars in future. “The volume of electric cars is very low in India but we can also have batteries for them when more people start buying them,” says Khurana.
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