In news– Recently, NITI Aayog has released the Draft Battery Swapping Policy for Stakeholder Comments.
Key proposals of the policy-
- The vision is to catalyze the large-scale adoption of EVs by improving efficient and effective use of scarce resources (viz. public funds, land, and raw materials for advanced cell batteries) for the delivery of customer centric services.
- It has proposed to offer incentives to electric vehicles (EVs) with swappable batteries, subsidies to companies manufacturing swappable batteries, a new battery-as-a-service business model, and standards for interoperable batteries, among other measures.
- The policy is targeted at supporting the adoption of battery-swapping, primarily for battery swapping systems used in electric scooters and three-wheeler electric rickshaws.
- It has suggested that the GST Council consider reducing the differential across the tax rates on Lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicle supply equipment. Currently, the tax rate on the former is 18 per cent, and 5 per cent on the latter.
- It also proposes to offer the same incentives available to electric vehicles that come pre-equipped with a fixed battery to electric vehicles with swappable batteries. The size of the incentive could be determined based on the kWh (kilowatt hour) rating of the battery and compatible EV..
- The policy also requires state governments to ensure public battery charging stations are eligible for EV power connections with concessional tariffs.
- It also proposes to bring such stations under existing or future time-of-day (ToD) tariff regimes, so that the swappable batteries can be charged during off-peak periods when electricity tariffs are low.
- Transport Departments and State Transport Authorities will be responsible for easing registration processes for vehicles sold without batteries or for vehicles with battery swapping functionality, the draft says.
- Municipal corporations will be responsible for planning, zoning permissions and land allocation for battery swapping stations.
- The policy also proposes to assign a unique identification number (UIN) to swappable batteries at the manufacturing stage to help track and monitor them. Similarly, a UIN number will be assigned to each battery swapping station.
- It also proposes to install battery swapping stations at several locations like retail fuel outlets, public parking areas, malls, kirana shops and general stores etc.
- Niti Aayog said battery swapping will fall under the battery-as-a-service (BaaS) business model, and such models would have to ensure interoperability between EVs and batteries for a successful mainstreaming of battery swapping as an alternative.
- Apart from the batteries themselves, major battery providers will be encouraged to sign data-sharing agreements to provide information on battery health and performance, and to enable more flexibility to consumers through peer-to-peer roaming networks.
- For the classification of collected data under the broad categories of proprietary, restricted-access, private and open-data, a non-restrictive detailed guideline will be developed for adherence by all industry players.
- This policy requires ecosystems to be ‘open’ to allow participation from other market players in order to be considered for support under the policy.
- The policy will only support batteries using Advanced Chemistry Cells (ACC), with performance that is equivalent or superior to EV batteries supported under the government’s FAME-II scheme.
- As of now, two-wheel EV maker Bounce has launched an electric scooter with a swappable battery. Under the company’s business model, customers can pay to swap their battery at one of their stations, whenever it runs out of juice.
- The battery management system, which is a software that controls battery functions, will have to be self-certified and open for testing to check its compatibility with various systems, and capability to meet safety requirements, it added.
- The draft says that batteries shall be tested and certified as per AIS 156 (2020) and AIS 038 Rev 2 (2020) standards for safety of traction battery packs, as well as additional tests that may be prescribed for swappable batteries which are subject to multiple coupling/decoupling processes at the connectors.
- The Aayog has proposed that all metropolitan cities with a population of more than 40 lakh will be prioritised for the development of battery swapping networks under the first phase, which is within 1-2 years of the draft policy getting finalised.
- Other major cities such as state capitals with a population greater than 5 lakh will be covered under the second phase.
What is Battery Swapping?
- Battery swapping is an alternative which involves exchanging discharged batteries for charged ones.
- Battery Swapping de-links the vehicle and fuel (Battery in this case) and hence reduces the upfront cost of the vehicles.
- It is popularly used for smaller vehicles such as 2 and 3 wheelers which have smaller batteries that are easier to swap compared to other automotive segments wherein the same can be implemented mechanically.
- It offers three key advantages relative to charging: it is time, space, and cost efficient, provided each swappable battery is actively used.
- It provides a level playing field to innovative and sustainable business models such as ‘Battery As a Service’.
- Several supporting initiatives have been implemented, such as the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric (Hybrid) Vehicles in India (FAME) I and II, and the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) for National Programme on Advanced Cell (ACC) Battery Storage (NPACC), to boost indigenous battery manufacturing capacity.
- State governments are developing complementary policies to promote EV adoption.
- India’s e-mobility revolution is led by the two-wheeler (2W) and three-wheeler (3W) vehicle segments.
- The Budget 2022-23 had announced that the Government of India will be introducing Battery Swapping policy and interoperability standards in order to improve efficiency in the EV Ecosystem.