Environmental News from India:
- Indian government’s think-tank, NITI Aayog, has now proposed a battery swapping policy to promote electric vehicles (EVs).
- The policy envisions a Battery as a Service (BaaS) model where EV users can pay or subscribe to battery service and exchange their discharged batteries with charged ones without owning their own batteries.
- The proposed policy that comes amid concerns of fire in lower segments of EVs also talks about the compliance of battery safety standards to de-risk the new ecosystem which has been planned as an alternative to the existing charging infrastructure.
It is estimated that around 7,000 electric scooters have been recalled in the last year due to fire incidents after the Indian government asked manufacturers to voluntarily consider recalling alleged faulty models.
India, however, continues to be bullish about the future of EVs. Recently, the NITI Aayog, the Indian government’s think-tank, proposed a battery swapping policy that envisions a new ecosystem with the battery as a service (BaaS) model which, among other things, also touches upon concerns about safety standards for batteries. In February 2022, during the budget session of the parliament, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the government’s intention to come up with a battery swapping policy – a demand that was being made by users and experts alike.
At present, people using EVs have to either charge their vehicles at home or rely on public charging infrastructure, which isn’t widespread. But the proposed battery swapping policy envisages a system without in-built batteries to reduce the upfront cost that allows the users to use battery swapping stations (BSS) to use batteries as a service on a subscription/payment basis without actually owning them.
To ensure high safety standards, the draft policy mandates the use of only Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) batteries or those which have either equivalent performance or more against the earlier prescribed battery norms under the union government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles in India (FAME-II) scheme. It also talks about the compatibility of different components of batteries to ensure interoperability for the end-users.
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