NREDCAP & RACEnergy Open Battery Swapping Station In Tirupati

The New & Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP) and RACEnergy have partnered to open a battery swapping station in the holy city of Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. The new battery swapping station will service a pilot program that will see internal combustion powered auto rickshaws be retrofitted with electric powerplants and batteries.

Witnessing the opening ceremony conducted today were Ramana Reddy, VC & Managing Director, NREDCAP; C. B. Jagadeeswara Reddy, General Manager, NREDCAP; Ramanjneya Reddy, Officer on Special Duty, NREDCAP; and Arun Sreyas, Co-Founder of RACEnergy. The new battery swapping station is part of the New & Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh's program to covert the pilgrimage city of Tirupati into a zero emissions zone.

Speaking at the launch of the battery hot swapping centre, S. Ramana Reddy, VC & Managing Director, NREDCAP said, "This is the first-of-its-kind pilot with retrofitted auto rickshaws that uses hot-swapping technology. Post the pilot phase, we are looking to expand to 200 vehicles in the coming months. Through this unique solution offered by RACEnergy, drives can purchase the retrofit kits and convert their diesel autos to electric. Battery swapping also makes economic sense for the driver community because once the vehicle is converted, their operational expenditure drops by 30%, and their earnings increase."

Speaking at the event, Arun Sreyas, Co-Founder of RACEnergy, said, "We are thrilled to support the vision of NREDCAP to make Tirupati an emission-free city. We look forward to scaling these operations in the coming months and expanding to neighbouring regions while also helping improve the livelihood and earnings of the driver community."

The new retrofitted autos are conversions of current diesel powered tuk tuks that roam the city streets of Tirupati. The conversions have been done by RACEnergy. The hot swapping tech used by the retrofitted autos eliminates the need to plug the vehicle into a charger, with battery swaps happening in about the same time it takes to fill up a full tank of fuel for these three-wheeled people movers.

Battery Swapping Vs Charging - Which One Is Better?

Battery powered electric vehicles look to be the future of the automotive world unless someone discovers a way to make hydrogen a feasible fuel.

However, the problem with battery powered vehicles is the time that it takes to charge their power packs. Battery swapping has been an option from the early days of the current EV rush but are they really that better compared to fast charging.

Where battery swapping would really work is in the world of commercial vehicles be it people or goods carriers. Battery packs for small commercial vehicles currently take anywhere from half an hour to five hours to charge up depending on the charging solutions supported by the manufacturer. In the commercial world, this would be a serious disadvantage for EVs, which is why battery swapping seems to be the better option.

However, there is currently one serious problem with battery swapping - a lack of standardised battery packs, ie: a one size fits all battery pack that could power any EV. Most manufacturers currently develop battery packs of various shapes and sizes that use different cells with varying chemistries.

Unless a standard battery pack is developed, swapping out batteries for the regular everyday EV rider or driver like me and you will never make sense, especially on short commutes and the availability of home chargers. Frankly, i wouldn't hold out hope.

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Read more on: #green vehicles
Article Published On: Friday, November 5, 2021, 19:18 [IST]
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