Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Honda Power Pack Energy India (HEID), a subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, launched their first electric vehicle (EV) battery swapping station in Bengaluru last week.

The e:swap station will cater to e-3 wheelers (electric three-wheelers) at present.

Prior to the launch, a PoC pilot conducted at HPCLoutlets at Thane and two other locations, scrutinised and tweaked every aspect of the battery sharing service for safety and ease, HPCL said in a statement.

Based on the performance of the first EV battery swapping facility, the Maharatna company will set up more than 70 such e:swap stations in a year in Bengaluru. It will then branch out to other cities, it added.

While Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles have to make way for environment friendly Electric Vehicles (EVs), the adoption of EVs comes with challenges, especially since charging the EV battery is not as fast as filling a fuel (Petrol/ Diesel) tank.

But battery swapping allows customers to exchange their depleted batteries with fully charged ones in a matter of minutes at e:swap stations, the company noted.

Further, the Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) model allows customers to lend batteries as a separate component from the vehicles. Lending the battery saves on the upfront purchase cost of an EV.

HPCL Executive Director (Retail), Sandeep Maheshwari, said the company is one of the biggest charge point operators in the country, with 1,058 EV charging stations at its retail outlets.

Swappable batteries address key EV adoption issues such as high upfront costs, range anxiety and long charging time. Over 90 per cent per cent of the country’s vehicle sales are two-wheelers (2Ws) and three-wheelers (3Ws). The simplicity of vehicle design and the smaller battery packs needed to power the electric versions of 2/3Ws makes them a prime candidate for swapping, he explained.

While Honda brings best-in-class technology to e:swap, HPCL with its more than 20,000 retail outlets in the country and presence in all cities, will ensure scalability and smooth operations, Maheshwari noted.

HEID President & CMD Kiyoshi Ito said: “HEID would focus on three actions — expanding its battery swap network in Bengaluru, ensuring reliable service with an integrated system monitoring every unique battery & exchanger, and supporting vehicle manufacturers who are developing EVs that utilise Honda Mobile Power Pack e:”

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