How battery swapping could propel India's shift to electric vehicles
Charging an EV battery is way far painstaking than refuelling conventional petrol or diesel vehicle. While lack of charging infrastructure is already a worry for the stakeholders, an average charging time of at least five hours is something that adds insult to injury. In such a situation, battery swapping seems the answer to the problem.
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With the Indian government focusing especially on the battery swapping technology through its dedicated policy, the EV update is expected to see a boost in the coming days.
What is battery swapping?
Battery swapping is a relatively new technology pioneered in China. This technology allows the owners of electric vehicles with removable batteries to take out a fully drained lithium-ion battery and replace it with a fully charged one at a battery swapping station. The Battery swapping station acts as a nodal point for the EV owners to exchange batteries, just like conventional fossil fuel refuelling stations.
Why battery swapping?
The battery swapping not only significantly minimizes crucial downtime for the EV owners but comes at a price of nearly one-third of one-litre petrol refuelling. Commercial EV operators such as last-mile delivery providers, ride-sharing service providers can benefit from this technology. Apart from that, battery swapping technology also helps the EV owners with additional range, addressing one of the greatest concerns - range anxiety. Also, opting for swappable batteries or battery-as-a-service will result in a lower upfront cost for EV buyers.
Battery swapping policy
The pivot to battery swapping was a centrepiece of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 2022 union budget speech. She mentioned that the central government is developing policies to encourage the battery swapping sector. She also said that the lack of space in India’s crowded urban areas makes it harder to set up traditional charging infrastructure. Instead, battery swapping could be the answer to the problem. In order to make battery swapping successful in India, the government is also planning to standardize battery hardware design.
The battery swapping technology in India is expected to be majorly used by the country's 1.5 million electric rickshaws that make up 83 per cent of total EV sales in India. As swappable batteries deliver a shorter range, they’re a better fit for low-speed EVs compared to larger cars, which need high-power batteries to deliver greater distance.