Time has come for battery swapping

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Electric rickshaws (e-rickshaws) provide last-mile urban transportation but have been limited in their adoption by the lack of battery charging. In such a scenario, battery swapping provides an easy solution.

“Such stations are a quick and effective way for e-rickshaws to operate without the loss of time in charging batteries. They don’t lose fares because the batteries in their vehicles can be replaced quickly and their used ones are left behind to charge for others to use,” said founder and CEO Varun Goenka, E-Chargeup Solutions, a company which has been a major advocate of battery swapping as a way of encouraging e-rickshaws.

“This [battery swapping] is the ultimate expression of a sharing economy in which assets are shared to facilitate business operations. Other examples of a sharing economy include, among others, the bed-and-breakfast segment exemplified by Airbnb and taxi services like Uber and Ola.  The Internet is a prime facilitator in this 21st century business model,” Goenka added.

The first battery swapping station by E-Chargeup Solutions has been operational for the past six months with 35 registered e-rickshaws covering 6000 kilometres daily on advanced indigenously developed Lithium-ion batteries from Greenfuel Energy Solutions.

E-Chargeup Solutions is targeting 1.7 million e-rickshaws through this unique franchise model, where it offers battery swapping and related services to rickshaw owners.

“There is an inherent efficiency in the model because there is no waiting interval for charging the batteries, a much better range, a 100% increase in driver revenue, and reduction in battery weight from 120 to 28 kilograms. This ensures smooth running of the rickshaws and zero maintenance cost,” Goenka explained.

Akshay Kashyap, GreenFuel managing director and provider of batteries to E-Chargeup Solutions, said that for E rickshaw ecosystem, battery swapping is right for these vehicles. “This basically means that an e-rickshaw owner can go in for a battery swapping option in which he goes to a charging station and replaces his discharged battery with a new, fully charged battery in under one minute and can be back on the go, without sacrificing income.”