SmartE will roll out SUN Mobility’s Quick Interchange Stations at its Park & Charge hubs across the Delhi NCR to support two and three-wheelers, which form the backbone of the latter’s first and last-mile connectivity services.
India’s leading provider of energy infrastructure and services for the EV segment, SUN Mobility has announced a partnership with India’s largest operator of EV fleet, SmartE, towards the deployment of its smart mobility charging solution. In the first of its kind initiative in the country, SUN Mobility’s Quick Interchange Stations will be rolled out at SmartE’s Park & Charge hubs across the Delhi NCR to support two and three-wheelers, which form the backbone of the latter’s first and last-mile connectivity services.
Consequently, this would help in substantially reducing the refueling time from the average four-hours to under two minutes as two and three-wheeler drivers will simply be able to swap batteries at a SUN Mobility operated Quick Interchange Station. Moreover, SUN Mobility’s smart Li-ion batteries will also help in reducing the vehicle weight by up to 100 kilos to help enhance both the efficiency and mileage. Data from pilot runs conducted since April 2018 reveals an increase in drivers’ earnings as they are able to operate their vehicle 40% more compared to the performance delivered by conventional Li-ion battery-based vehicles and 80% more compared to conventional lead-acid battery-based vehicles.
“Why are electric vehicles not adopted? One is the price of EVs is very high, driven by the cost of the battery. The second is the long refueling time and the third is the concern of range anxiety and no infrastructure. By separating batteries from vehicles, we can now get vehicles equivalent or cheaper than petrol or diesel vehicles,” Chetan Maini, Co-Founder & Vice-Chairman, SUN Mobility told APF’s Manish Pant.
Each battery comes outfitted with a computer that makes it trackable for performance as well as security. The batteries have been acclimatised to Indian conditions to optimise their performance in even extreme heat. The computerised advanced charging and thermal management stations enable over 200 swaps a day even while utilising a mere 1/50th of the real estate space required for setting up regular charging infrastructure.
“The Quick Interchange Stations will be co-located at our hubs given that we have built a very large real estate footprint. Today, we have a captive capacity of about 70,000 square feet just for EV charging. In Delhi NCR, 500 of our vehicles will move on to the SUN Mobility platform in the next three months. SUN Mobility will be one of the critical partners in our expansion plans,” said Goldie Srivastava, Co-Founder & CEO, SmartE.
SmartE is simultaneously looking to set up 50 of its own hubs in the Delhi NCR, with a capacity to concurrently charge 200 vehicles. It has an ongoing agreement with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and operates nearly 80,000 shared rides daily. SmartE’s fleet of three-wheelers is sourced from the Pune-based Kinetic Green Vehicles and it will announce an agreement with another OEM shortly. The firm is looking to roll-out 100,000 vehicles by 2022.
According to an estimate, India has over 1.5 million electric rickshaws, with 11,000 sold every month. Consulting firm AT Kearny projects the $1.5 billion market to likely expand to 9% by 2021. In comparison, despite being the world’s fourth-largest automobile market, the country only has between 100,000 and 150,000 EVs and the number is expected to grow by about 5% in the next five years. Of about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, EVs accounted for a measly 1% of the total sales. In neighbouring China, 777,000 electric and hybrid vehicles were sold in 2017 alone.
A 2017 joint study by the federal government think tank, NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute indicated that India could represent more than one-third of the global EV battery demand by 2030, if the country met its goals for a rapid transition to shared, connected and electric mobility.
In some good news for EV fleet operators and solution providers like SmartE and SUN Mobility, the Delhi state government recently released the draft of its new electric vehicle policy. The document proposes aggressive development of charging infrastructure, 100% subsidy for charging points and a special tariff regime for electricity used by EVs to encourage the switchover of at least 25% vehicles to electric in what is one of the of the most polluted cities in terms of parti-culate matter concentration globally.