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Honda to begin battery-swapping service for electric tricycle taxis in India

Tue, 11/16/2021 - 14:05 -- Paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM Honda Motor has announced plans for a battery sharing service for electric tricycle taxis in India using its swappable lithium-ion batteries.

Honda aims to eliminate user concerns around short range, long charging time and high costs through the use of swappable batteries scheme.

The scheme is due to begin in the first half of next year, and follows demonstration testing in India in February when 30 units of electric rickshaw taxis were driven for a total of more than 200,000 km.

Rickshaw drivers will be able to stop at a battery swapping station in the city and swap a low remaining charge battery for a fully-charged MPP e: battery.

The Indian-made Honda Mobile Power Pack e: has a rated voltage of 50.26V, a rated capacity of 26.1Ah/1.3kWh and weighs 10.3Kkg.

To begin this service, Honda will establish a subsidiary in India that will install a number of Honda Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e: as battery swapping stations and conduct battery sharing service in the city. 

Honda will work with electric rickshaw manufacturers and begin the service in selected cities first and then expand to other areas in stages. 

Minoru Kato, chief officer, life creation operations, Honda Motor, said: “The pack has huge potential to electrify all kinds of devices including small-sized mobility products and expand the use of renewable energy. 

“By offering a battery sharing service in India, Honda will contribute to the accelerated electrification of rickshaws and expanded use of renewable energy. 

“Moreover, Honda will continue serving people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential by further expanding the utilisation of the MPP into broader areas.”

Battery swapping services

Last year, government-owned fossil fuel firm IndianOil partnered with transport infrastructure power company Sun Mobility to set up electric vehicle battery-swapping stations at select fuel stations in cities across India.

A state-of-the-art battery swapping station has been inaugurated at Kapoor Service Station, one of Indian Oil's leading retail outlets in Chandigarh, in northern India.

In April, China fossil fuel company Sinopec signed a strategic agreement with NIO to fit one sixth of its filling stations with the car maker's battery swap facility by 2025.

This represents a big step up for China firm NIO Power, which plans to boost the number of its battery-swap stations from 201 to 5,000 over the next few years.

The new stations are not only fully automated but allow EV drivers to swap their depleted battery for a fully charged one in four-and-a-half minutes with a click of a single button 

In May, Honda was part of a consortium of motorcycle OEMs that joined forces to define the standardised technical specifications of swappable lithium-ion battery system for vehicles.

Other vehicle OEMs were KTM, Piaggio and Yamaha Motor.

The firms signed a letter of intent to create a Swappable Batteries Consortium for Motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles belonging to the L-category: mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

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