The topic of swappable batteries in the electric motorcycle world is nothing new. As early as 2020, some of the world’s biggest OEMs committed to join forces in creating a standardized battery compatible across platforms. While this has yet to materialize in the European and North American markets, India’s government is thinking of ways to accelerate the adoption of EVs and make them even cheaper and more efficient than ever before.
NITI Aayog, the government agency responsible for India’s public policies, is thinking up ways to further accelerate the adoption of EVs, particularly electric two-wheelers, to the general public. To do this, it’s looking to roll out a policy on swappable batteries which gives consumers the option to purchase a new EV without a battery pack. This could subsequently reduce the upfront purchase price drastically, making the vehicle more affordable, especially in India’s extremely price-sensitive market.
Our friends over at Indian motorcycle publication BikeDekho painted a detailed picture as to exactly how much savings this policy could offer to customers. In India, the Infinity E1, a popular electric scooter, can be purchased for as low as just Rs 45,099 without the battery pack. On average, it computes the yearly battery-swapping cost to amount to around Rs 4,200, assuming the bike is ridden everyday for commuting purposes. This translates to a yearly cost of just Rs 49,299 to acquire and operate the Infinity E1.
Meanwhile, the Honda Activa, one of the most popular commuter scooters in India, retails for Rs 82,000 on-the-road. This excludes fuel costs, which will definitely amount to so much more than the battery costs or the E1. When compared side by side, the cost of acquiring and running the Activa for one year translates to buying the Infinity E1 and riding it for seven years—maintenance and repairs excluded, of course. This undoubtedly presents itself as a massive plus with hardly any drawbacks to the vast majority of riders who use their vehicles as their primary mode of transport.
On top of the cost savings, the implantation of a battery swapping policy also has the potential to decrease ingress and egress times of EVs lining up at fast-charging stations. With India’s heavily congested roads and constant traffic, the reduction of ang delays in day-to-day activities such as recharging batteries, or in this case, swapping batteries, will certainly go a long way in easing traffic congestion. Battery swapping can take as little as under a minute, meanwhile, even the fastest charging systems may take up to 15 minutes to juice up a battery.