The battery swapping market gets charged up | The Financial Express

The battery swapping market gets charged up

Taiwanese company Gogoro to start battery swapping pilot in India. Many Indian start-ups are also showing interest

The battery swapping market gets charged up
Zypp Electric makes last-mile delivery for local merchants and e-commerce players, using electric two-wheelers sourced from various manufacturers.

Last week, Taiwanese battery swapping company Gogoro tied up with Zypp Electric (India’s EV-as-a-Service platform) to launch a battery swapping pilot in India.

Zypp Electric makes last-mile delivery for local merchants and e-commerce players, using electric two-wheelers sourced from various manufacturers.

Gogoro, on the other hand, provides battery swapping solutions as well as electric two-wheelers.

As part of this pilot with Gogoro (which will begin in December), Zypp Electric will use Gogoro Smartscooters to conduct its B2B last-mile delivery operations. The electric scooter will be powered by a Gogoro Smart Battery (1.6 kWh) that can be swapped at Gogoro Network GoStations. “When the battery is about to drain, a Zypp Electric scooter rider needs to go to a Gogoro battery swapping station and swap that almost depleted battery for a fully charged one,” Akash Gupta, CEO & co-founder of Zypp Electric, told FE. “This process takes only six seconds. The plan is to start with six battery swapping stations and 100 electric scooters.”

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“With more than 350 million battery swaps to date, Gogoro is introducing its advanced battery swapping platform in India that is proven, safe and reliable,” added Horace Luke, founder, chairman & CEO of Gogoro. “The aim of this pilot project is to gather data and chart a course to expand operations in the future.”

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Luke added that with the government’s focus on battery swapping—the NITI Aayog had released a draft battery swapping policy in April—now is the right time to enter this space.

Companies that have shown interest in battery swapping are Sun Mobility, Yulu, Battery Smart, Bounce Infinity and Sheru. Taiwan’s Foxconn has also reportedly shown interest in battery swapping.

To swap or to charge

According to a study by Arthur D Little India, a management consulting firm, the swapping model makes sense for commercial users of 2/3-wheelers, and the charging model is more suitable for individual users.

Barnik Maitra (managing partner), Fabian Sempf (principal, Head of Automotive Practice) and Prathamesh Chaudhari (senior manager, Automotive Practice), ADL India, had shared with FE that battery swapping reduces the upfront cost as the vehicle is sold without the battery, which constitutes 40-50% of total cost. It reduces range anxiety and vehicle downtime, resulting in a positive impact on the earnings of commercial drivers. It minimises infrastructural needs, given the low space requirement. The swapping model also demands lower battery size and range, thereby reducing the lithium requirements at the industry level.

But there are challenges as well, including around interoperability and battery standardisation. And there is a big liability debate in case of any mishap with a vehicle running on a swapping model.

Battery charging, on the other hand, it provides a sense of ownership to customers and quality perception for branded batteries. But while it makes sense for individual users of electric two-wheelers (as their daily run is limited and they can charge the battery overnight at home), it doesn’t make sense for commercial users who have to be on the move for most part of the day.

Is Gogoro the first company to offer swapping solutions?

No, at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, another Taiwanese company Kymco launched Ionex Commercial—comprising of electric two-wheelers, charging facilities, removable batteries and advanced IT systems.

In 2019, it entered the Indian market in a joint venture with 22Motors, and set up 22Kymco. But the JV couldn’t last beyond a few months.

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First published on: 07-11-2022 at 07:09 IST