Among the different barriers of shifting to Electric vehicles,  long charging hours is one. With Battery Swapping, this concern has been put to an end. In a recent Q&A session, Rakesh Dasari sheds light on the game-changing potential of this new advancement in battery charging.

#IES: Considering the perceived challenges and inconvenience associated with battery charging for electric vehicles, how viable and convenient is battery swapping as an alternative solution?

Rakesh Dasari: Imagine, if you will, a world where recharging your electric vehicle takes less time than pouring a cup of coffee. Sounds like the stuff of dreams, right? Well, prepare to be surprised because that seemingly distant dream may be closer to reality than you think.

Envision compact power stations that require only a minuscule 10 Sq.ft. space, yet can breathe life back into 30-40 two-wheelers or 10-20 three-wheelers in less time than it takes to blink. But where would one find these revolutionary charging stations? The answer is closer than you'd think.

Picture yourself walking down to your local mom-and-pop shop, or the parking lot in your apartment building. Maybe you're visiting your favorite mall or restaurant, or simply popping by the neighborhood grocery store. Any of these commonplace locations could easily be home to these unobtrusive power hubs, standing by to deliver an instant charge to your EV.

The only secret ingredient needed to unlock this game-changing potential? A humble three-phase electricity connection with a load capacity of 8-10 KVA. Let that sink in and allow your curiosity to take hold. The future of EV charging is here, and it's faster, more convenient, and more accessible than you ever thought possible.

#IES: What strategies can be employed to ensure the accessibility of battery swapping stations in densely populated cities, and how can end users be effectively informed about battery availability, swap locations, and pricing to encourage their adoption and usage?

Rakesh Dasari: Harnessing a modest 10 square feet, battery swap stations could redefine our relationship with urban landscapes. We can integrate these stations seamlessly into everyday spots such as local family-run shops, eateries, or any locale with frequent footfall, reminiscent of past post box locations. Furthermore, we can also tap into existing fossil fuel infrastructure networks, partnering with major oil corporations like BPCL, HPCL, and IOCL, to deploy larger facilities capable of handling a higher service volume.

Leveraging a Central Management System (CMS) in this distribution framework breathes life into a self-regulating operations engine. This mechanism handles pricing, battery stock, pay-as-you-go models, distribution, and maintenance, with its operations transparent to both external and internal ecosystem partners through accessible apps. With a wealth of data from the operations engine, data scientists can construct compelling models for a range of applications, personas, and market segments, fostering a custom-tailored user experience.

#IES: How can potential issues related to battery compatibility with different electric vehicle models and manufacturers be handled?

Rakesh Dasari: Imagine a future where the compatibility issues among various electric vehicle (EV) models and manufacturers are things of the past. A future in which Battery as a Service (BaaS) models and collaborative efforts coalesce to create a seamless, user-friendly electric mobility landscape.

The key lies in the modular battery design and architecture. It is like a daisy chain, individual links coming together to form a stronger whole. These batteries can be assembled in parallel to transform into larger capacity packs, circumventing the often frustrating physical compatibility issues. The charm of the BaaS model lies in its versatility, its ability to cater to a dazzling array of vehicles, from the nimble two-wheelers to the robust light commercial vehicles, all on a single platform.

Take a glance at today's EV market, clearly segmented into speed categories for both two and three-wheelers. High-speed scooters, the road warriors, come with non-removable batteries, dependent on onboard chargers. On the other hand, their low and mid-speed counterparts, the city roamers, employ removable batteries. Similarly, for three-wheelers, the workhorses of last-mile commute and logistics, BaaS could revolutionize operations. Uptime, a critical business metric for these vehicles, can significantly improve with BaaS, adding value like never before. But what if all the removable versions, along with their three-wheeler companions, could tap into the benefits of BaaS models due to the easy access to their batteries?

Envision BaaS enterprises stepping into the role of Charge Point Operators (CPO), akin to today's Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). In this role, they can actively manage the lifecycle of dynamic and modular batteries, from essential upgrades to fostering innovation. And as the cherry on top, BaaS models separate the cost of the battery from the vehicle, making the transition to EVs more affordable for the customer.

In an era of waning government subsidies, the synergy between BaaS enterprises and EV manufacturers becomes not only desirable but vital. Together, they can develop swappable battery variants, propelling us faster towards a sustainable and user-friendly electric mobility future.

#IES: In terms of safety, can you provide details on what safety protocols can be followed for battery handling, storage, and transportation within the swapping infrastructure?

Rakesh Dasari: As we journey through the technological landscape of the 21st century, there's a critical aspect that echoes with increasing urgency: safety. The realm of battery handling, storage, and transportation within swapping infrastructure is no exception.

Think of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) amendments to AIS156 certifications as the proverbial drawing of a line in the sand. Yes, these changes may have initially slowed down sales and growth. However, visualize this period as an archer pulling back his bowstring, preparing for a powerful leap forward.

The AIS156's stringent revisions serve as an essential litmus test, separating the serious contenders from the field. They sweep away the 'lego-like assemblers', who viewed battery technology as merely a trading commodity. As a result, what we are left with is a more robust, fail-safe ecosystem. Audio-visual alarms, early detection of thermal runaway, non-smart BMS elimination, along with data logging and traceability—these are the metaphorical knights in shining armor ensuring battery safety.

Charging is the Achilles' heel of any battery or lithium-ion cell. Therefore, maintaining absolute control over this process and its environment is paramount. This is where the marriage of CMS and smart battery-swapping stations comes into play. These control modules keep a vigilant eye on the dock temperatures, ensuring that the batteries are primed and ready before charging begins. It's like having an automated conductor orchestrating the symphony of battery swapping.

But the capabilities of this innovative technology don't stop here. Proactive data mining offers BaaS companies a crystal ball, predicting potential failures before they occur. And here's where the real magic happens: the potential for completely unmanned operations. By removing the human factor from the equation, we're looking at a dramatic reduction in errors and a fluid stream of batteries entering the ecosystem.

Automated swapping stations could herald the end of battery transportation concerns. Picture a world where the batteries come to you, not the other way around. It's not just about solving a problem—it's about reimagining the whole process.

And so, as we stand on the precipice of this new era, it's crucial to remember that every step back in safety protocols is indeed a giant leap forward for the industry. Progress might seem slow, but in the grand scheme of things, we're laying the foundations for a future where battery swapping is seamless, efficient, and above all, safe.

#IES: How does the adoption of automotive powertrains contribute to promoting environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions?

Rakesh Dasari: We should take steps towards building a world where our reliance on exhaust-belching fossil fuels is a thing of the past. This is the revolutionary promise of electric powertrains. By replacing traditional engines, they cut carbon emissions drastically. It's like trading an old, gas-guzzling clunker for a sleek, efficient sports car. EVs harness a whopping 77% of the electrical energy from the grid, leaving ICE vehicles, which manage a paltry 12-30% from gasoline, in their dust. Now, picture this powerhouse paired with renewable energy sources and a battery-swapping infrastructure. The result? A mobility ecosystem that's not just sustainable, but feels like stepping into the future, today.

#IES: How can events like the India eMobility Show contribute to the growth and advancement of solutions in the electric vehicle industry, such as battery swapping and other innovative technologies?

Rakesh Dasari: Technology, Value Chain, Distribution, Collaboration, Accessibility & Affordability: These driving forces come together at events like the India eMobility Show. New technologies are showcased, key players in the value chain can network and collaborate, and accessibility and affordability issues can be addressed. It's a platform for exchange and growth. This can lead to the advancement of solutions in the EV industry, such as battery swapping.