E-Chargeup Solutions Opens New Battery Swapping Station for E-Rickshaws in Noida

In a bid to offer a unique business model to boost the use of e-rickshaws in the country, E-Chargeup Solutions has inaugurated its new battery-swapping station (BSS) for e-rickshaws in Noida.

E-Rickshaws battery

During the occasion, Varun Goenka, Founder and CEO of E-Chargeup Solutions said that his company has been a major advocate of battery swapping as a way of encouraging e-rickshaws. These vehicles provide last mile urban transportation but have been limited in their adoption by the lack of battery charging.

He further commented that “battery swapping is an idea whose time has come. Such stations are a quick and effective way for e-rickshaws to operate without the loss of time in charging batteries. They don’t lose fares because the batteries in their vehicles can be replaced quickly and their used ones are left behind to charge for others to use. This is the ultimate expression of a sharing economy in which assets are shared to facilitate business operations. Other examples of a sharing economy include, among others, the bed and breakfast segment exemplified by Airbnb and taxi services like Uber and Ola. The Internet is a prime facilitator in this 21st-century business model.”

Goenka also said that the first BSS has been operational over the past 6 months with 35 registered e-rickshaws covering 6,000 km daily on advanced indigenously developed Lithium-Ion batteries from Greenfuel Energy Solutions.

On checking in the market, we discovered that the firm is charging Rs 220 for a single swap in a 12 hour period, and Rs 400 for unlimited charges or battery swaps for the same e-rickshaw in a 24 hour period.

Going forward, the company is targeting 1.7 million e-rickshaws through this unique franchise model, where it offers battery swapping and related services to rickshaw owners, Goenka added.

He also said that there was an inherent efficiency in the model because there is no waiting interval for charging the batteries, a much better range, a 100 percent increase in driver revenue, and reduction in battery weight from 120 to 28 kg. This ensures the smooth running of the rickshaws and zero maintenance cost.

E-Rickshaws battery

All very valid points, though the receptivity of the market to the charging cost being charged remains to be seen.

On the existing lead acid batteries, that still power most e-rickshaws, these are the real issues for the operators, through some of them clearly have a system of quick battery swapping in place, although in an unorganized way. More importantly, based on informal discussions with rickshaw drivers, it seems that typical charging costs paid vary a lot, from a low of Rs 80 for 6 hours of charging to Rs 150 for overnight charging. Thus, the extra cost of the new solution will definitely call for some appraisal by owners.

Everything could eventually boil down to the earnings these e-rickshaws make in a typical hour, as the time saved, better batteries and convenience will certainly be evaluated on that metric. Most drivers claim daily earnings in the range of Rs 1000-Rs 1500, with about Rs 300 set aside for charging and parking arrangements.

Commenting on the BSS launch, Akshay Kashyap, Managing Director of GreenFuel and provider of batteries to E-Chargeup Solutions, said that for the e-rickshaw ecosystem, battery swapping is right for these vehicles. “This basically means that an e-rickshaw owner can go in for a battery swapping option in which he goes to a charging station and replaces his discharged battery with a new, fully charged battery in under one minute and can be back on the go, without sacrificing income.”

For the E-rickshaw owner, becoming a part of the swapping network will require some paperwork, as the firm has tied to protect the risk of handing out batteries without a security deposit. So there is a specific requirement for detailed documentation, including Aadhaar cards.

Inaugurating the facility, dubbed “icentre,” proprietor and franchisee Baldev Joshi said it was the first battery swapping center and will foster an increase in the use of ecofriendly E-Rickshaws. Vikas Joshi, the co-owner added: “On inauguration day itself we registered eleven customers for our daily battery swapping subscription plan.”

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Manu Tayal

Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.

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