Budget 2022- Battery Swapping policy attracts new entrants to RUN towards EV industry

New Delhi (India), February 24: In sync with the policy of the Government, RunR Mobility focuses on swappable batteries as the prime USP of its Electric Vehicles.

The Union Budget for FY 2022–23 gives a huge impetus to the electric vehicle (EV) industry. Presenting the Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that a Battery Swapping Policy for electric vehicle charging in limited space will be framed soon.

The government has reiterated its thrust on EVs. Proposals in this regard related to infrastructure development and credit flow (classification of energy storage systems under harmonized infrastructure list), formulation of new interoperability standards and a battery swapping policy, creation of special mobility zones with zero-fossil fuel policy — are aimed at spurring EV adoption.

The finance minister also announced plans to reinforce the push for EV penetration in public transport and create special mobility zones for EVs. This has been implemented in other regions like China and Europe to promote EVs and will aid in increased EV adoption, in addition to allocations under the FAME II scheme. The inclusion of energy storage systems in the harmonized list of Infrastructure will facilitate easier credit availability and cheaper financing availability for the EV segment.

Motivated by the positive move of the Government, RunR Mobility is looking to be a key player in the growing market of Electric Vehicles that too in the swappable battery space. The upcoming brand is backed by MECpower Solutions Pvt Ltd., a prominent name in renewable energy. This Gujarat-based company is building high-speed smart-electric scooters with swappable batteries as its USP. It has a large, 4.2-acre state-of-the-art factory with a capacity of producing 100 vehicles per day. Unlike many others, it includes in-house battery & motor testing. The brand is all set for a formal launch, later this year.

Until now, EVs had been slowly gaining acceptance (0.93 million EVs have been registered in India since FY2012), mainly e-3Ws and e-2Ws. E-2W registration picked up in 10M FY2022 because of the rising fuel prices and lower ownership cost of e2Ws over ICE. The segment witnessed the growth of over four times on a YoY basis, and 149,204 e-2Ws were sold in 10M FY2022.

Now with the Government’s plans to implement a battery swapping policy and formalize interoperability standards, battery swapping is likely to gain acceptability in commercial applications like e2W and e3W and will help faster penetration in these segments, if implemented effectively. There is also a proposal to reduce customs duty for Nickel Ores and Concentrates from 5 percent to nil, ferronickel from 15 percent to 2.5 percent, nickel oxide and hydroxide from 10 percent to free. Nickel Manganese Cobalt is key chemistry used in lithium-ion batteries, which are used in EVs.

According to Setul Shah, Founder, RunR Mobility, “Given that nickel alloys are primarily imported, the reduction in customs duty will aid indigenous EV battery manufacturers in reducing production costs. Apart from that, there is a moderate level of localization when it comes to critical EV components like motors and controllers. Hence, reduction in customs duty from 10 percent to 7.5 percent in motor parts, will also help reduce the cost of EVs and will also leave a fair margin for the dealers associated with a brand like ours.”

He also mentioned that overall, the Union Budget 2022-23 has been favourable for the EV space and will result in deeper penetration of green mobility over the medium term. The intention of the Government is in the right direction and the private sector is definitely encouraged to develop sustainable businesses. Building swap stations would have cost 10 times as much as setting up a fast-charging station but Sitharaman’s announcement brings in a huge boost and a lot of cheer.

What we know about RunR Mobility’s product (electric scooter) as of now, is that it is a connected vehicle powered by a combination of a lithium-Ion battery pack, features a smart 7-inch display, and reaches the high speed of   70-100 km/ph. It is likely to give an impressive range of up to 100km/charge. The swappable battery concept will allow the rider to be relaxed thereby making comfort, the biggest advantage apart from speed.

This certainly does not seem like just another RunR in the EV race. Awaiting further announcements by the brand for the dealership openings and product launch.