Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Honda Motor have joined hands to set up battery swapping stations for electric vehicles at the state-owned oil firm’s petrol pumps. HPCL and Honda Power Pack Energy India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Honda Motor Co Ltd (Honda), launched their first ‘e:swap’ station at HPCL’s petrol pump in Bengaluru on August 6, the state-owned firm said in a statement on Tuesday.
With the fast adoption of environment-friendly EVs that run batteries charged by electricity, infrastructure to either charge such vehicles or provide facilities to replace discharged batteries with fully charged ones are being set up across the country. While charging the EV battery is not as fast as filling petrol or diesel, battery swapping offers a quick alternative.
“Customers can exchange the depleted batteries with fully charged ones in 2 minutes at e:swap stations,” it said. “Also, this Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) model allows customers to lend batteries as a separate component from the vehicles. Lending the battery saves upfront purchase cost of an EV.” The swapping station at HPCL’s Old Airport Road outlet will cater to e-3 wheelers at present. “The garden city of Bengaluru will have more than 70 such e:swap Stations in a year and then other cities will be taken up,” the statement said.
Speaking on the occasion, Sandeep Maheshwari, Executive Director – Retail, HPCL, said the company is committed to accelerating India’s transition to greener energy. “We are one of the biggest Charge Point Operators in the country with 1,058 EV charging stations at our retail outlets across the country. Today, we are launching another game-changing initiative in partnership with HEID,” he said.
Swappable batteries, he said, address the key EV adoption issues, such as high upfront costs, range anxiety and long charging time. “Over 90 per cent of the country’s vehicle sales are of 2Ws (two-wheelers) and 3Ws (three-wheelers). The simplicity of vehicle design and the smaller battery packs needed to power the electric versions of 2/3Ws makes them a prime candidate for swapping.” While Honda brings best-in-class technology to e:swap, HPCL with its 20,000+ retail outlets in the country and huge presence in all cities will ensure scalability and smooth operations.
HEID President and CMD Kiyoshi Ito said that HEID would focus on three actions – expanding its battery swap network in Bengaluru, ensuring reliable service with a highly integrated system monitoring every unique battery and exchanger, and supporting vehicle manufacturers who are developing EVs that utilise Honda Mobile Power Pack.