IGL launches battery swap with eye on E-scooters, autos



NEW DELHI: Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL), the sole supplier of CNG and PNG in the National Capital Region has entered the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem by launching battery swapping service in Delhi in collaboration with Pune-based EV manufacturer Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solutions.
IGL managing director A K Jana launched the first of the two battery swapping stations in Delhi on Wednesday under the ‘Energy Café’ brand, describing it as an extension of IGL’s efforts to provide cleaner mobility solutions that started with CNG. The number of cafés will be raised throughout the region.
The move will speed up transition to electric mobility, especially in the two- and three-wheeler segments in a region that suffers from bad air quality. Kinetic CEO Sulajja Firodia Motwani battery swap can reduce the upfront cost of EVs by up to 50%.
This can be achieved selling EVs without battery. Buyers can use the swap facility to get ‘fuel’ — in this case a fully-charged battery — just as normal cars are sold without petrol or diesel and buyers tank up.
IGL marketing director Pawan Kumar said the initiative will add one more vehicle segment to the company’s customer base.
IGL said users can install Energy Café mobile app on their phones, locate the 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 multi-platform intelligent system of the cafés is compatible with E-bike, E-auto and an E-rickshaw. The stations will deploy an 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 that are linked to an app. The smart network provides real-time feedback of battery location and charging status to users.
Battery box module of the system uses special lithium-ion batteries. Each weighs about 12-13 kg and can be easily removed and replaced.
The government is preparing a battery swapping policy that will lay down industry standards aimed at compatibility and suitability to Indian conditions. Battery swapping addresses some critical deterrents to transition such as high cost of EVs and range anxiety.
Under the battery swapping concept, EVs can be sold without the lithium-ion battery and owners 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 cars or two-wheelers with internal combustion engine (ICE).
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 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 swap discharged batteries with a fully charged one. This technology is most suited for “light electric vehicles” such as two- and three-wheelers, where batteries are light weight and smaller, and can be swapped easily.


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