Sun Mobility reveals battery swap solution for EVs

Sun Mobility reveals battery swap solution for EVs

17th Apr 2018 6:19 pm

Aimed to drive the price of buying an EV down; trials of the service could begin in the second half of 2018

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What stops nearly every customer from buying an EV? The answers to that are range anxiety, the unbearable charge times and the high price. But that is a problem Sun Mobility aims to tackle with its 'Interoperable Smart Mobility Solution', under which it takes buying or leasing the expensive battery out of the equation, and provides batteries of its own - which can be swapped - on a pay-per-use basis.

Intended for the electric two- and thrre-wheeler space, this is the brainchild of Chetan Maini, the father of the Reva, and it's a pretty promising solution. As part of this plan, Sun Mobility will set up Quick Interchange Stations, which one can ride into, swipe a card, have their nearly depleted battery swapped for a fully charged one, and ride out. The whole process is seamless and takes under 3 minutes, which is about the same time you'd spend at a fuel station.
 
If this sounds familiar, it is - a company named Gogoro makes smart scooters and provides similar modular, swappable batteries. The difference here is that Sun's stations will offer batteries for different type of vehicles. Just like Gogoro, Sun Mobility intends to offer time- and usage-based subscription packages, details of which are being worked out. It's still too early to estimate how much these subscriptions would cost, but Maini insists that if you account for the lower acquisition cost of an EV without the batteries, it would turn out to be cheaper than running a petrol or diesel-powered vehicle.
 
Since these are modular battery packs - each unit is compact and weighs 13kg - one could fit as many units as warranted by their usage - from one to three batteries. Each battery has a capacity of 1.5kWh, and as for range, on a scooter, it can go anywhere between 60-65 kilometres, and a three-wheeler can do about 35-38 kilometres. Adding more battery packs will subsequently double/triple output and range. Sun Mobility is also working on the same technology for cars, but Maini said that would take a little more time and work.
 
The only rider here is that the solution only works if your electric bike/auto has been modified by Sun Mobility and fitted with its modular battery and battery dock. Sun states that it has tied up with four three-wheeler OEMs and one two-wheeler OEM to get this solution rolling, and more details will be revealed in the coming months.
 
Do you think this could be the boost the Indian EV space needs? Let us know in the comments.
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