First Battery Swapping station called “Energy Café” unveiled in New Delhi
Indraprastha Gas Ltd. (IGL), India’s largest CNG distribution company, and Kinetic Green, a Pune-based leading electric vehicle manufacturer, launched their first “Energy Café” – a battery swapping station designed under a strategic collaboration aimed at revolutionizing electric vehicle industry in India. Under the alliance, IGL and Kinetic will roll out a deep network of Battery swapping stations, starting with the Delhi region, where a range of electric three-wheelers and electric two-wheelers can avail battery swapping facility.
Battery swapping as a concept is gaining popularity and momentum in India’s transition to Electric vehicles, including a recent announcement being made by the Finance Minister during the Budget speech that a comprehensive battery swapping policy will be announced by the government shortly.
Battery swapping as a concept is designed to address some of the critical concerns and deterrents faced by the drivers towards owning and operating electric vehicles. Under battery swapping concept, EVs can be sold to customers without the lithium-ion battery and drivers can avail batteries on a “pay per use” concept by paying a small amount for “battery as a fuel”. With this, the cost of the EV can be almost halved and brought, not just at par, but below price of ICE counterparts. Further, Range Anxiety is eliminated as drivers need not worry about range anymore and they can always swap their discharged battery for a charged one, like they used to fill fuel in their ICE vehicles, if they need to go longer distance. Vehicle re-charging time is eliminated as battery swapping takes only 2 minutes and customers need not worry about charging batteries or even buying a new one in the future. Battery swapping stations can be set up at convenient locations, like we have fuel pumps, where customers can go for giving back the discharged batteries and swapping it for a fully charged one. This technology is most suited for “light electric vehicles” like 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers, where batteries are light weight and smaller, and thus can be easily swapped manually.
The Battery Swap Stations developed under the alliance will be called “Energy Café” – A café where energy or battery as a fuel will be available as a pay per use service. At Energy Café, IGL and Kinetic have conceptualized and deployed advanced technology, and offered a comprehensive IoT (internet of things) based system, including a smart battery with a protocol for charging and host of swapping operation. The system monitors the battery and station, which are IoT enabled and linked to an app. The Smart Network provides real-time feedback of battery location and charging status to users.
The user can effortlessly install Energy Café Mobile App on their phones, locate nearest battery swapping station, book batteries from available charged batteries, pay through digital payment gateway and swap it with discharged battery at any of the IGL gas stations, paying for only the amount of charge they consume. The stations are modular, intelligent and connected. Its multi-platform is compatible for E-bike, E-auto and an E- rickshaw. Battery box module of the system uses special lithium-ion batteries have been developed; each battery weighs just about 12-13 kgs and thus, can be easily removed and replaced. Cost of one battery swap will also be less that cost of equivalent fuel, say petrol or diesel, and thus, customers not only get convenience but also their transport cost will be reduced.
What is further unique about this alliance is that this solution is being conceptualized as an Open-platform solution for the entire EV industry, and not only for EVs made by Kinetic Green. It will be inter-operable across brands and vehicle models. The EVs that intend to join this platform simply have to go through a simple retro fitment for these specially made batteries for being able to swap it at the stations. IGL will play the role of providing the infrastructure. Initially IGL’s existing well spread network of CNG stations in Delhi/NCR can be leveraged to install the Energy Cafe’s. Kinetic Green will play the role of the technology partner, provide EV domain knowledge, and help create and bring EV population at the swapping stations.
Speaking on the occasion A.K. Jana, Managing Director, IGL, said: “In line with our vision to become India’s leading clean energy solution provider we are happy to be part of another green revolution after CNG- by venturing into E-MOBILITY segment by setting up battery swapping facilities in collaboration with Kinetic Green. The battery swapping solution that we unveil today will greatly spur e-mobility adoption”.
“We realize that good infrastructure is a precursor to enabling a vibrant, clean, and smart mobility ecosystem. Carrying forward this belief, we have partnered with Kinetic Green to present an innovative and sustainable battery solution to cater to the growing demand for electric vehicles in the capital”.
Pawan Kumar, Director Commercial, IGL, said: “As a part of our diversification strategy and our mission to provide clean energy solutions, we are stepping into the Electric Vehicle value chain by putting up EV charging infrastructure. Through this initiative, we reiterate our commitment to provide safe and reliable clean energy solutions”.
“Through our esteemed & experienced partner Kinetic Green we are proud to launch this Battery swapping facility for 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler EV segments. Through this initiative we will be adding one more vehicle segment, i.e., 2-wheelers to our kitty, which are not CNG users today”.
Inaugurating the 1st Energy Café in Delhi, Ms. Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Founder and CEO, Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions Ltd., said: “Kinetic Green is extremely happy to partner with IGL to bring this Swappable Battery Technology solution. This solution reduces upfront cost of EV by 50%, and customers never have to worry about battery charging and replacement. We are confident this solution will revolutionize the EV industry in India, especially for intra-city and last mile transport. Today we have unveiled the first 2 stations, and intend to expand to set up initially 50 stations during 2022, with a focus on the New Delhi region, one of the leading States for EVs in India, with a favorable policy framework from the State Government towards battery swapping”.