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Battery Swapping VS Charging Station: Which one will prevail in India?
Simran Kaur
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Published on 22nd Jun 22

Battery Swapping VS Charging Station: Which one will prevail in India?

Globally, there is a shift towards electric mobility. Governments are setting lofty targets, corporations are investing in technology and capabilities, emerging enterprises are competing for a piece of the pie, and organisations are publishing studies that explain the reasoning behind this inevitable shift.

Although statistics indicate that the use of battery-powered vehicles is on the rise, the challenge of how to transmit electricity to these devices persists. Contrary to popular belief, incentives are presently driving the uptake of electric vehicles. After the subsidy period ends in the future, will swapping be the most convenient option for consumers? Let's discover!

Are Indian Consumers Likely to Adopt Swapping?

Electric vehicle supplied plug-in chargers are slow and can only charge one vehicle at a time. Even when the manufacturer provides quick-charging technology, the user must wait at least an hour and a half. Despite efforts to standardise these running techniques, there are hurdles in both cases. Introducing charging stations requires large investments in both the necessary equipment and the area on which the stations will be situated. Additionally, EV-specific stations can be added to existing stations, however this involves a redesign of the station's layout.

However, replacing batteries appears more convenient. Companies like Tata and Shell intend to increase the number of charging stations around the country. Moreover, numerous companies are developing and investing in the subject. The United States and Europe have a reputation for being early adopters of new technologies, but battery replacement has not yet achieved general acceptability. Nio, a Chinese maker of electric vehicles, has already established over 700 battery swap stations in China.

In India, two- and three-wheeled vehicles are gaining popularity more rapidly than four-wheeled vehicles. Which is why, swapping makes sense. When the battery weight is decreased to 10 kg and its range is expanded to 80-100 km, these become a win-win situation for all parties involved.

The cost of implementing battery swap systems for four-wheelers and bigger commercial vehicles would significantly increase, reducing the viability of battery swapping for vehicles larger than three-wheelers. This is because the battery packs used in such vehicles are heavier and may demand the use of robots and automation to achieve success.

It is vital to understand that batteries account for around 40 percent of the entire cost of an electric vehicle. Long-term, shifting stations can help OEMs reduce the cost component for both consumers and themselves. Producing batteries for an electric vehicle that costs Rs 1 lakh costs the manufacturer Rs 40,000.

Battery swapping allows drivers to continue driving without worrying about the state of their batteries. They can utilise their devices without concern for battery life and enjoy the advantages of the new technology. With centralized administration, closed-loop management system batteries can be reused in energy and solar applications. Sounds Promising?

The Problem With Data Sharing And Standardization

As battery changing appears to be the most practical option, a standardised is required. The FAME-II programme is based on the concept of fixed batteries; therefore, it must be expanded and made more flexible in terms of the swapping policy. The ISO standards for battery changing are also in development. As every business and product is unique, so too are its batteries. It is difficult to convince manufacturers to establish a single standard for the development of batteries since there is a constant struggle for control.

However, brands and OEMs use their battery technology to distinguish themselves from the competitors. If all EVs have the same range and battery capacity, the competition will be determined by price. Wouldn't OEMs and brands lose a substantial portion of their competitive edge? There are worldwide corporations building consortiums to standardise EV battery production, but in India no such consortiums are being formed. As battery capacity decreases, users may experience decreasing mileage, and there are no promises that a fully-charged battery put into a car will last as long as the previous battery.


Should You Swap Or Not?

Battery-as-a-service business models, which might range from monthly to yearly to daily subscriptions, could represent an opportunity for EV entrepreneurs when it comes to battery changing. To complement the forthcoming battery swapping strategy, it is also unclear whether brands and OEMs would coordinate and work on the same sort of batteries.

Have you taken note?

You can locate EV everywhere you go. Government, Institutes, and Businesses are all building an EV-Ready Infrastructure for the upcoming surge of EV Vehicles. The EV fast-charging stations are now capable of recharging up to 80 percent of batteries within 10 to 15 minutes. Fast charging has also substantially resolved concerns regarding battery compatibility, as only charging standards, and not the entire BMS or battery manufacturer, are required to be synchronized.

Almost certainly, the government will promote both fast charging and swapping, allowing the market to determine which of the two ultimately prevails. As long as we're accelerating the EV Shift, we are winning!

Soumyadeep Keshri
great article!
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