NITI Aayog’s draft policy aims to bring standardisation to battery swapping 

Even as episodes of electric vehicles (EVs) bursting into flames rock the industry, the NITI Aayog on Thursday released a draft battery-swapping policy.

In its first phase, it proposes to prioritise setting up battery-swapping networks in metropolitan cities with a population above 40-lakh (per Census 2011).

In the second phase, all major cities such as State capitals, Union Territory headquarters and those with population of over five lakh (per Census 2011) will be covered, given the importance of two- and three-wheelers in these cities, the policy paper said.

It said any individual or entity is free to set up a battery swapping station at any location, provided the specified technical, safety and performance standards are adhered to.

Alternative

Battery swapping is an alternative, which involves exchanging discharged batteries for charged ones and provides the flexibility to charge them independent of the vehicle. This de-links battery charging and usage and translates into minimum downtime. for the vehicle

“Any Central and State government agency involved in implementation of battery swapping networks may consider this prioritisation when providing additional policy support and/or subsidy allocations for battery swapping networks,” the government think tank said in the draft policy.

However, according to some EV manufacturers, there should be standards and policies only after road testing them.

“We are completely aligned with the government on the need to establish standards to promote interoperability of the swapping infrastructure. However, we would request the government to form these standards and policies only after testing them on ground and not limiting the assessment to lab tests,” Vivekananda Hallekere, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Bounce, told BusinessLine.

He said the technology around battery and its infra is fast evolving and the policies and standards should not choke innovation. “We urge the government to consider the above points before the policy and standards for battery swapping are formalised,” he said. Battery swapping will help rural India more than anyone else because people there do a lot of inter-city rides. Therefore, prioritising battery-as-a-service (BaaS) there than in urban areas should have been better, he added.

The NITI Aayog had in February organised an inter-ministerial discussion to formulate a robust and comprehensive battery swapping policy framework. It also held a pre-draft discussions with a spectrum of stakeholders representing battery swapping operators, manufacturers, vehicle OEMs, financial institutions, and think tanks, and other experts.

Comments invited

The draft policy also proposes that demand side incentives offered under existing or new schemes for EV purchase be made available to EVs with swappable batteries eligible under this policy. “The size of the incentive could be determined based on the kWh rating of the battery and compatible EV,” it suggested.

The NITI Aayog has invited comments on the draft policy until June 5.

Published on


April 21, 2022

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