With an intent to give electric vehicle sector a push, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced a new policy for battery swapping in her Budget 2022-23 speech. The policy regarding the same is being prepared and will be deployed shortly, as per Sitharaman.
“We will promote a shift to use of public transport in urban areas. This will be complemented by clean tech and governance solutions, special mobility zones with zero fossil-fuel policy, and EV vehicles,” the statement in the Budget read.
Battery swapping allows consumers to replace their depleted batteries with fully-charged ones at dedicated stations. This reduces the effective charging time for EVs to just a couple of minutes, making it comparable to fueling conventional vehicles.
The shorter charging time with battery swapping also increases the up time for EVs bought for commercial use, thus helping buyers sooner achieve a break-even.
Major players in the EV space have welcomed the move and plan to make the most out of the opportunity.
A part of Hero MotoCorp, Hero Electric is a major player in the electric two-wheeler space. The brand offers electric bicycles as well as bikes with single and dual batteries.
Naveen Munjal, MD, Hero Electric, said, “The last year has seen the EV industry witness tremendous growth and the government has been privy to the fact that the way forward in the mobility sector is to shift to EVs. We thus welcome the move by Finance Minister for announcing the commencement of battery swapping and battery standardisation process. This move will open up avenues for further growth and development of the EV and energy sector in the country.”
Unsoo Kim, MD, Hyundai Motors India, termed the Budget ‘progressive’ and said that the vision for clean mobility is a positive indicator for the auto industry as a whole.
“Hyundai Motors India welcomes the progressive Union Budget announced today. Government’s strong approach towards accelerating infrastructure development, sustainability along with digitalisation in every-sphere of business will give strong impetus to overall economy while empowering consumerism in India. The vision for clean mobility creating electric vehicle ecosystem is a positive indicator for auto Industry and for its large supply chain,” Kim said.
PB Balaji, Group CFO, Tata Motors welcomed the ‘balanced budget’ and said, “Plans to create EV charging infrastructure including national policy for battery swapping which when combined with the already announced Automotive PLI scheme, furthers the agenda for green mobility.”
Greg Moran, CEO and Co-Founder, Zoomcar, said, “With the reforms coming into play in the automobile industry in India the Battery Swapping Policy upon being implemented efficiently will benefit the entire EV ecosystem including manufacturers and charging infrastructure players.”
Moran further seemed optimistic about the execution and adoption of EV that will see a significant boost in India.
“The government will also encourage private players to become a part of this new development and its process in setting up adequate infrastructure. While this policy will enable wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles, it will also contribute to achieving net-zero (carbon emission) goals of the country,” he also mentioned.
Vivekananda Hallekere, CEO and Co-Founder, Bounce, welcomed the move and applauded the progressive vision to facilitate faster adoption of electric vehicles in the country.
He said, “Government and policymakers have recognised battery swapping as the most effective solution to accelerate EV adoption in India, by addressing the anxiety and hesitancy in adoption as well as considering the pragmatic aspects of setting up charging infrastructure – for instance, space constraints in urban areas for dedicated charging stations. We believe this move can enable affordable and clean mobility at scale.”
Rajat Verma, CEO and Co-Founder at Lohum, welcomed the announcement and said, “The Government’s focus towards energy transition and climate action brings in the much-desired policy push towards achieving the country’s net-zero goals and circular economy.”
“The announcement on battery policy is well aligned to this focus and will definitely provide a big boost to the deployment of electrical mobility in the country. This will also boost the deployment of battery-led energy storage systems for complementing the green energy generation and decentralisation of energy distribution,” Verma said.
“However, with more batteries per EV, the need for recycling these batteries will be incrementally necessary for driving sustainability through clean mobility. Along with the battery policy, we feel that a long-term view on Li-ion battery recycling is also required to bring the segment under circular economy,” he stated further.
Anirudh Ravi Narayanan, CEO and Co-Founder, Boom Motors, echoes the same sentiment and spoke about the advanced technologies that have been promoted by the central government lately.
He said, “It is critical now that we invest in the EV infrastructure in the country to support mass adoption, so the timing of this announcement is perfect. It is also encouraging to learn that the government is working towards a battery swapping policy - especially in the 2/3W segment, swapping can offer major benefits."
Aravind Sanka, Co-founder of Rapido, meanwhile highlighted two major takeaways from the budget. He said, “First is the importance of multi-model public transportation experience with the first mile and last mile as well. Second is to increase the EV adoption coming up with the policy and battery swapping, I think it's a great move.”
To this, Yogesh Bhatia, Managing Director and CEO, LML Electric, added, “The Union Budget 2022's four key pillars of inclusive development, productivity improvement, energy transition, and climate action will undoubtedly boost the country's economic growth. Clean and sustainable mobility is critical for reducing fossil fuel dependence and combating climate change.”
“We applaud the government's efforts in this area and look forward to seeing concrete steps taken to address the barriers to EV adoption. India's electric power is increasing! Special mobility zones with a zero-fossil-fuel policy will aid in the transition to cleaner technologies and the development of a more sustainable economy. I look forward to seeing the positive impact electric vehicles will have on India and the planet,” he further said.