A live demo was given onsite on how it will work by taking out the battery from Zbees, putting it back in swapping station, taking out one from station and putting it in Zbee and vehicle driving. The entire process of swapping and driving which Fortum termed as ‘Change & Drive’ takes not more than two to five minutes which offers excellent turn-around time to e-autos, which will increase their revenue earning potential. The unique element includes size and weight of the battery which is approximately 13 kg, making it convenient to be handled by one person. The project was showcased in presence of officials from NTPC, Indian Oil, Embassy of Finland, leading vehicle manufacturers, battery manufacturers and suppliers, and startups.
The guest of honour, Nina Vaskunlahti, Ambassador of Finland to India said, “India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and we are really proud of the thriving relations between Finland and India. The focus between the two countries in addition to good political relationship is on business and economic cooperation. In the NORDIC cooperation, our approach is based on three principles – Openness, Innovation and Collaboration. This is a testimony to what we witnessed here today. We are happy to see Nordic companies bringing in their best technology and solutions and custom build it for the Indian market."
The primary target market for the initiative are the major taxi companies in India, and other organisations with large fleets of vehicles that are in need of high uptime in their operations. This project aims to address the woes of end customers, high cost of owning an EV by reducing the initial costs for batteries.
Clean Energy company Fortum wants to see the adoption of EVs to grow high in India across vehicle spectrum from auto rickshaw to passenger cars to utility. “Customers want energy solutions that benefit them and embrace future life. We, at Fortum, have always been a front runner to offer energy solutions which will pave way for cleaner world. EV space is today at the start of journey, would reach a tipping point in couple of years and will show asymmetrical growth thereon. We want to be the forerunner and are aware that there cannot be a cookie cutter approach across EV charging platforms and would require multiple approaches to reach faster adoption. This initiative of offering battery swapping solution for electrical autos taken by us in collaboration with Clean Motion is one of the paths that all coverage in e-mobility. Also, this project is testimony to the fact that time for electric vehicle has arrived in India,” expressed Sanjay Aggarwal, Managing Director, Fortum India.
Erik Tutzauer, Innovation and Venturing, Fortum Sweden said, “India is an important market for us and as a leading EV player in the Nordics, we believe we have the expertise and can help with the transition to EVs in India.” The model is that Fortum will own the batteries. That way, the cost of the vehicles, the cost of fuel and the cost of maintenance will be significantly lower than the same for fossil fueled light vehicles.
According to Anil Arora, CEO, Clean Motion India, the company is very happy with the performance of battery swapping system deployed by Fortum. “We want to engage our customers to join hands for a cleaner world. Partnering with Fortum, we believe that we can create a system at an economical cost for the light electric vehicles in India.”
Awadhesh Kumar Jha, Vice President, Charge & Drive & Sustainability, Fortum India said, “One of the prime objectives of this project is to demonstrate that battery swapping is feasible in 3-wheelers and can be done by driver without any assistance of any other person. All Zbee vehicles in the test are equipped with telematics equipment, enabling remote monitoring and data logging. We, along with Clean Motion, believe that the initial cost of batteries is one of the major limitations to shift to electric vehicles and therefore, there must be a cost-efficient alternative for the drivers and operators which is what this project aims at. As a company, we also have a role to play in transforming mobility in India. Increased adoption of EV means improved battery technology at affordable prices.”