Charge vs Swap: The Ideal Bet, For Now

July 14, 2022
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The battery is the most expensive component of an electric car. And India needs a vast infrastructure to support battery charging to make widespread adoption of electric vehicles a reality. The need of the hour will be to determine whether establishing charging stations or battery swapping stations is the preferable solution. Let's look at both options.

Battery Charging Benefits for EV Owners

• Vehicle owners choose and own the battery pack. They are not at risk of having their travel interrupted by a defective battery supplied by a third party.

• Vehicle owners may charge their batteries anywhere and at any time. It might be the workplace parking lot or the basement garage if the vehicle is parked overnight. Therefore, no new "battery replacement required" job is added to the routine. The everyday journey is unlikely to empty the battery for private vehicle owners. They may easily commute throughout the city/suburbs with a partially charged battery and charge the vehicle as needed.

• The OEM-designed battery is crucial to the car's safety, balance, rigidity, and other criteria, as it is integrated into the chassis design.

Negative aspects of a Battery Charging System

• Owners of vehicles must purchase costly batteries.

• Standard batteries are pretty hefty, thus, even an empty vehicle must support a more significant load.

• As the battery is used and recharged over time, its performance will degrade, and the owners will be required to pay for a replacement battery.

• Battery technology advances annually, so individuals who purchase batteries with their vehicles will be forced to use obsolete packs for years.

Advantages of Battery Replacement for Automobile Owners

The total price drops dramatically when purchasing a vehicle without batteries, making EVs accessible to the public.

  • Since the battery is interchangeable, car owners will always have access to the most advanced technology. Each year, they may be able to acquire a lighter battery with a more extended range.

• Vehicle owners do not need to purchase a new battery until the battery is nearing the end of its useful life. Because the provider of exchanging services owns the batteries, only a "pay-per-use" subscription is required.

• Battery switching service providers maintain and monitor the batteries using cutting-edge Battery Management Systems. Therefore, these batteries are more inexpensive and efficient to use.

Negative aspects of battery replacement services

• Until a certain degree of standardisation and interoperability of the batteries is adopted, there will continue to be quality concerns associated with new technologies. Vehicle owners may believe that their current battery is of higher quality and safety than the one provided as a replacement.

• Batteries available for exchange may not be suitable for specific vehicle models because they were not originally incorporated into the vehicle's design. Since these would be routinely exchanged, there could be safety concerns involving fire and vehicle problems.

Is there a way forward?

The Indian government has announced the Draft Battery Changing Policy, which will soon become the official guideline for service provider swapping. Several public and private initiatives are underway to provide electric vehicle battery charging facilities.

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of battery swapping versus charging, India's best bet would be to adopt a hybrid model in which battery changing dominates the public transport, commercial vehicle, and shared mobility segments requiring extended operational range and less time spent charging. On the other hand, private vehicles driven short distances may benefit more from the charging infrastructure.

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A seasoned Corporate Communications Specialist with over 30 years of experience in both corporations and public relations firms. Strategy, Consulting, and Relationship Management were my focus areas. In the course of her career as a communications specialist, she has helped clients achieve their communication objectives.. She has also operated her own business, which specialised in B2B strategic communications and travel consulting. Other passions travel, writing, and teaching.

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