Budget 2022: A push to Electric Vehicle sector in India

Electric Vehicle charging station. Picture: Hindustan Times

India is laying the path of Electric Vehicle (EV) sector, with the recognition of the ‘Battery Swapping Policy’ in the Budget 2022-23 by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

This can be credited to growing environmental concerns among Indian consumers and various initiatives by the government since 2019.

India’s EV revolution.

Group General Manager of Mahindra, Pramuch Goel on the onset of this initiative said, “The roadmap laid out to usher in sustainable mobility will bolster the electric mobility adoption in India”. Goel mentioned about the Battery swapping methodoloy which he said could offer a practical alternative to increase adoption of electric vehicles.

“As part of our Last Mile Mobility, we look forward to working with the Government, policymakers and our partners to formulate and implement the battery swapping policy. This will include introducing interoperability standards as well as driving innovation in Battery as a Service business models ”, said Goel.

Speaking to Co-founder of Battery Pool, Ashwin Shankar, he said “the announcement from the government, that we expect the market to open up significantly with the policy, swapping is kind of viable alternative to battery charging”.

Shankar added, ” Indian EV market is still for two and three wheelers, hence we want to focus on it right now.”

Further he said, “Interoperability which was mentioned by Nirmala Sitharaman, mentioned would be a little to pull off as it would take the freedom of vehicle manufacturing away.”

Battery swapping stations cost about eight to ten lakhs, which is much cheper than building battery charging stations for EVs in India, said Shankar.

Asking about the methodology of the Battery Swapping, Shankar explained, A EV owner is running low on their battery they can come to the nearest battery swapping station and scan the given QR code at the station which will open up the door of the battery pack and the swapping station will ensure and validate the similar battery and the swapping station would provide the fully charged battery. The entire process will take place between 10 minutes.

Battery swapping station. Picture: WRI

“People are very adaptive I would say, and they prefer to have electric vehicles these days, like, because in the long run EV is the future, said Senior Product Manager and Retail Operator of Ather Energy,Urnisha Ganguly.

Ganguly focused on the demography of the customers coming at the store, she said, “We have customer base comprising of mainly parents who just want to use for dropping their kids at school, or just going to work, mainly IT sector and we have college students. ”

Smart features like Bluetooth feature attracts the youngers and millennials whch is connected to a cloud.

“We have a customer base of elderly people, for the special feature offered by Ather, mono-shock rear suspension which reduces back problem.

Ather Energy store at Chennai. Picture: Somasree Chakraborty

Brands selling EVs in India

Okinawa Dealer J. Suresh, said “more than being an environment conscious people are bound to purchase EV due to the rising fuel prices.They expect something cheap and easy to access.”

He added “The special feature of our scooter is that it has booth battery swapping as well as battery charging option, which has increase the scope of customers.”

“Yet the EV cannot cover long distance”, which remains a draw back yet in this sector said, Suresh.

Okinawa scooter. Picture: Autocar India