Constituent policy

Niti Aayog will roll out its EV battery swap policy in four months

Public policy think tank Niti Aayog plans to roll out a ‘battery swap policy’ – which will give EV buyers the option of not owning their battery, reducing upfront cost and accelerating adoption of VE – in the next 3-4 months.

“I am confident that electric vehicles will be cheaper than ICE-powered vehicles in the near future,” said Niti Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant.

The proposed policy will introduce disruptive business models such as battery as a service (BaaS), leasing, etc. so customers of electric two- and three-wheelers don’t need to own the battery, which accounts for around 50% of the total vehicle cost, bringing the initial cost of the vehicle well below its ICE counterparts.

The policy will also offer electric vehicle owners the option to swap out the batteries at swap stations in minutes and charge them at home, people familiar with the matter said.

“This policy will address upfront cost and ‘range anxiety’ (fear that the battery charge will run out before reaching the destination or a charging point), initially targeting shared mobility and delivery vehicles,” said Chetan Maini, co-founder and president. of Sun Mobility, a company engaged in the development and operation of energy infrastructure for electric mobility.

The battery swap policy is to be implemented in the next 2-3 months to develop the EV ecosystem and boost the adoption of EVs in the country, Maini said.

“The customer must have the flexibility, and the two options (fixed and tradable) must coexist,” he said.

Aayog’s Kant said the focus of the initial phase will be to meet the needs of light electric vehicles where it is easy to plug and play from vehicle batteries at battery swap stations.

“We have a proven test bed, from startups like Sun Mobility (and) Battery Smart, among others, that have technologically demonstrated the feasibility of battery swapping for electric two- and three-wheelers,” he said. declared. “This scalable battery swap technology will act as an alternative to decouple the cost of the vehicle battery for almost all segments.”

Aayog held the first preliminary stakeholder discussion for its proposed policy earlier this month, where participants included vehicle OEMs, battery OEMs, financiers, think tanks, multimodal agencies and experts and independent consultants.

Sulajja Firodia Motwani, CEO of electric two- and three-wheeler maker Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solutions, said after Fame-2 and state incentives to drive down electric vehicle prices and incentive programs performance-related (PLI) for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and component manufacturers, the focus is now on the ecosystem for faster deployment of electric vehicles.

Even when the Fame-2 subsidies end, the initial consumer cost of EVs should be low, Motwani said.

While battery swapping is still in its infancy around the world, it is gaining momentum especially for commercial and fleet operations and India is poised to become a leader in this field with its policy proposed.

The policy aims to provide a level playing field for all battery service providers by creating new opportunities for investment in innovative business models such as BaaS.

Battery standardization is key – electric vehicle makers will have to design vehicles in such a way that they can use interchangeable batteries, experts said.

This will boost the confidence of battery manufacturers, OEMs, charging station operators and, most importantly, consumers with a clear policy roadmap, they said.

The battery swap will also reduce recharging time to around two minutes, which is less than the time needed to fill the fuel tank of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, experts said.

Since the battery is charged under the supervision of the manufacturer or service provider, the battery life will also increase, said an official from a Mumbai-based financial firm.