By Srihari Mulgund
Charging infrastructure and the charging time of an electric powered auto (EV) are two of the largest obstacles to their mass adoption in India. In an try to address these issues and speed up the changeover to inexperienced mobility, the Union Government is pushing battery swapping as a workable selection, specially for the two and 3-wheeler segments, as their regular battery measurement is lesser than that of 4-wheelers and industrial autos.
The simple build of battery swapping is the exact same as owning a product equipped with batteries for constant use, these kinds of as a remote regulate, alternatively of charging it each individual time, like a cell phone. The only distinction is that for EVs, the purchaser will have to swap the discharged battery for a charged a person at a swap station.
The rationale in pushing this alternative is to de-website link the battery price from the EV charge and limit recharging time. Considering that the battery accounts for virtually 30%-40% of an EV’s charge, this plan could support obtain cost parity amongst EVs and ICE automobiles.
Even though the information of the battery swapping plan declared by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Spending budget 2022 are expected to be offered in the future 3 months, the intentions of the Governing administration are to:
a) Really encourage (perhaps by means of incentives) the non-public sector to build Battery-as-a-Provider (BaaS) remedies, and
b) Market battery interoperability.
Worries in battery swapping
For battery swapping to be productive in India, the next troubles ought to be dealt with:
Interoperability: Presently, battery packs in EVs are not standardized. That’s why, they are incompatible with the assorted car segments, makes and designs. Guaranteeing battery compliance with unique vehicle designs and standardizing the battery packs and connectors will play a vital role. On the computer software entrance, establishing a typical interaction protocol involving the battery management method (BMS) and the motor controller will be essential for general performance. In addition, carrying out intensive merchandise validations will help improve the effectiveness and protection of battery packs.
Battery stock: For each battery in the vehicle, there demands to be a backup battery. The stock can be as large as 40%-50% at the start of functions but can be decreased to 10% -15% by means of powerful optimization. More stock will be needed throughout distinct operational situations these kinds of as need peaking and routine maintenance of on-industry batteries.
Captive demand: In addition to batteries and inventory, battery swapping necessitates expenditure into actual estate and machines. The swapping stations need to have to be found at prime places that are quickly accessible to shoppers, attracting superior rental expenditures. Becoming a Capex-intensive business, asset utilization will become important for prolonged-phrase sustainability.
As a result, demand development for BaaS is crucial, which can be addressed by:
1.Confirming bare minimum capability utilization by using captive desire (e.g., fleets, vertical integration) and
2.Forging upfront relationships with established vehicle companies.
Other issues associated with battery swapping include things like:
a) More quickly charging charges (battery billed in fewer than 2 hrs) tend to crank out larger amounts of warmth, thereby demanding an Aircon process to manage the battery temperatures at optimum degree (~25DegC). The requirement for an Aircon is additional fuelled by larger typical ambient temperatures of ~35DegC in India.
b) BaaS operators need to make sure a uniform vary per swap for customers, irrespective of the age of the battery pack, which can be reached by way of clever software options.
c) Lithium batteries are highly flammable, and the new events of motor vehicle battery fires have only aggravated this problem. The possibility exacerbates when numerous battery packs are being managed in a person place at the swap station, and in an unlikely occasion of a fire thanks to negative tactics, an overall area in a dense urban environment will be exposed.
Is battery swapping a extended-sighted choice?
When battery swapping is predicted to stay beautiful for the uptake of EVs in the medium time period, its relevance will be evaluated in the extensive time period.
When the battery technologies increases, the vitality density is most likely to get improved and additional capacity can be packed into the battery, resulting in a longer assortment for each charge. This, coupled with lessened charging situations, will be a potential problem for BaaS organizations.
On the other hand, extremely-rapidly charging will come with issues like:
1.Want for more cooling preparations in a auto, which really should be a presented in situation of battery swapping
2.Will need for Grade A battery cells to empower rapidly charging. Lower-expense Quality B cells are well-known among the Indian suppliers now and
3.Infrastructural necessities like larger parking areas as fast charging require parking the cars for at minimum 30 minutes, whilst battery swapping will take fewer than 5 minutes.
Though battery swapping will enable the mass adoption of 2 and 3-wheeler EVs, it may possibly not be the proper alternative for passenger and commercial autos. The huge pounds of the lithium-ion battery pack would make swapping tougher, if not unachievable. Also, the infrastructure needed to swap more substantial, heavier battery packs, these types of as robotics arms, and so on., will be substantially extra advanced and high-priced. At EY-Parthenon, we at the moment imagine that passenger automobiles will gravitate toward quickly/extremely-rapidly charging. In contrast, heavy commercial cars, in the medium time period, will probably go down the route of minimal carbon gasoline selections this sort of as hydrogen.
The results of the BaaS will count on devising efficient strategies to deal with the troubles talked about earlier mentioned. As these concerns are interrelated, locating the ideal equilibrium through technological innovation and disruptive business enterprise styles is the want of the hour.
(Disclaimer: Srihari Mulgund is Lover at EY Parthenon (Guide – Electric powered Car Benefit Chain). Views are particular.)