comscore Battery charging vs battery swapping on electric scooters in India

Battery charging vs battery swapping on electric scooters: Which is more pragmatic for Indian market?

While the list of pros and cons seem to be of an identical length, it ultimately comes to the compromise the buyer wants to make with their choice of technology

Electric scooters charging

Electric scooter charging infrastructure

The other day I came across a new advertisement for an electric scooter called Bounce Infinity E1. The ad had Hrithik Roshan endorsing a new method to charge electric scooters. This got me thinking, “why is this technology not prevalent in the market right now?” Also Read - Yamaha EMF electric scooter with 100kmph top speed unveiled: Price, features

Clearly, the advertisement did its job well, trying to explain why the tech is better than the more common plug-in charging. However, if it is so revolutionary, why would most popular electric scooter brands in the market still want to opt for a plug-in and charge method instead of just battery-swapping. Also Read - Ola Electric to open final payment window for Ola S1, Ola S1 Pro today: Check timing, other details

Here we are going to try to understand the different aspects that go for and against both the charging technologies, and also discuss what could be the best option for a buyer right now. Also Read - Ola S1, S1 Pro buyers won't get promised features until the next 6 months: Report

Let’s divide the story in simple points delivering the pros and cons of each technology

Battery Charging (Pros)

-As simple as plugging in an appliance
-No need to manually remove battery and replace them (most batteries are very heavy)
-What you buy is yours to keep
-You can set a charger at home
-Higher degree of battery optimization with the scooter

Battery Swapping (Pros)

-Not much range anxiety if there’s enough battery swapping stations
-No waiting period
-Can be carried home to recharge
-Could cost much less
-Eradicates the problem of depreciating battery capacity
-Ability to adopt a newer battery technology once it is broadly available

Battery Charging (Cons)

-Long waiting period
-Impact on battery health over the span of ownership
-Needs ample space to park and charge simultaneously
-Range anxiety due to lack of time to recharge
-Needs more planning before leaving the house

Battery Swapping (Cons)

-Lack of standardization
-Possibility of getting a more used up unit which could impact driving range
-Short life of battery as most users would opt for a new battery
-More batteries are in circulation to run the same number of EVs
-The weight of the battery may not make the task of swapping any easier

What should the buyer opt?

While the list of pros and cons seem to be of an identical length, it ultimately comes to the compromise the buyer wants to make with their choice of technology. With the swapping technology, you can definitely match the refueling time of an ICE scooter but it does open up a lot of variables like battery health.

On the other hand, battery charging may offer the convenience of just plugging in and charging, but it doesn’t really help with the range anxiety and long waiting periods.

Both technologies have a long way ahead of them to offer a complete ecosystem that can rival that of ICE engines. The best option for buyers will be to have the option to both charge and swap batteries. This will broaden their choices a lot.

Nupur Recyclers, is an Indian brand that has stakes in both the charging technologies. The company offers a battery exchange facility for electric 2 wheelers and electric 3 wheelers or e-rickshaws and charging facilities for electric 4 wheelers.

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Rajesh Gupta, Founder, Nupur Recyclers highlights the benefits of both the technologies. Gupta said, “Two primary solutions have become practical for broad use as a result of recent technological advancements: swappable batteries and quick charging. Because electric cars’ batteries take a long time to charge, the easiest short-term option appears to be to simply replace an empty battery pack with a new one. This drastically decreases the time it takes for an EV to charge because changing the battery pack takes only a minute or two, which is potentially faster than charging an EV. On the other hand, the long-term solution – DC Fast chargers have always been in the news because they allow your vehicle to be charged up to 80% in half an hour – but these chargers are very expensive to buy and deploy due to the huge amount of power-upwards of 100kw and upto 400kw.”

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  • Published Date: December 8, 2021 10:37 PM IST

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