Fortum India and Business Sweden launch EV innovation challenge

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 10 Dec 2018

Fortum India, part of the Finland-based clean energy company, and Business Sweden, the Swedish Trade and Invest Council, today launched its innovation challenge, Unnati Change & Drive Innovation challenge.

This challenge aims to accelerate electrification of three wheelers in India through jointly developing a battery swap system specially tailored for light electric vehicles (LEVs) in the country. The partners said that taking LEV battery swapping to the next level requires designing digital infrastructure and developing hardware to support a sustainable business model.

With an aim to accelerate innovation in LEV battery swapping technology, the Indo-Sweden joint declaration on Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future invited entries from researchers and innovators, to work alongside Fortum for developing standard infrastructure for battery swapping in India. The innovation challenge received around 70 entries, out of which 16 have been shortlisted to make their pitch during the three-day event. The challenge is being coordinated by the Swedish Trade and Invest Council, in collaboration with ATAL Innovation Mission - NITI Aayog. The shortlisted participants have been invited to the three-day event starting today in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore respectively to present their ideas to the panel. 

The inaugural event in Delhi saw eminent speakers gracing the event including Carsten Gronblad, Swedish Trade Commissioner to India; R Ramanan, managing director, Atal Innovation Mission - NITI Aayog; Saloni Malhotra, vice-president, Invest India and Head – AGNIi; Ajay Goel, chief operating officer, Sun Mobility; Awadhesh Jha, vice-president, Charge & Drive, Fortum and Erik Tutzauer, innovation accelerator, Fortum; among others. The panel discussions during the event deliberated on designing digital infrastructure and developing hardware to support a sustainable and customer-centric business model.

Speaking on the occasion, Carsten Gronblad, said, “Unnati is a model for co-innovation allowing industry, start-ups and the civil society to jointly develop solutions addressing global social needs. This challenge calls for collaboration to advance sustainable infrastructure for LEV battery swapping in India. This is an important task as we see electrification of urban transportation as a key to improve local and global environment and provide citizens with affordable and accessible mobility services. We are happy to partner with Fortum, AGNIi and Atal Innovation Mission – NITI Aayog, Nasscom and Indian Angel Network amongst others, with the vision of bridging Indian and Swedish innovators.”

Clean Motion's Zbee in Noida

Speaking about the challenge, Erik Tutzauer, said, “We believe that utilising a battery swap system will further increase the market share for electric vehicles in India. We see India as an important market. The Indian government's vision to achieve 30 percent electric mobility by 2030 is well aligned with Fortum's vision. In keeping with this, we recently signed an agreement with Sweden-based Clean Motion in order to boost the sales of light electric vehicles in India. The battery replacement system is important where the individual driver can quickly switch to fully-charged batteries instead of charging it. The goal is to create a large-scale transition that is cost effective.”

Awadhesh Kumar Jha, said, “Fortum plans to transform mobility in India. Improved battery technology at affordable prices is the need of the hour to further boost the adoption of EVs. This platform by the Swedish Trade Council and Atal Innovation Mission – NITI Aayog is a great start for us to work alongside our valuable patrons. We have received and heard some excellent ideas and we are hopeful to build an EV ecosystem to boost the sale of electric vehicles in India.”

The challenge winners will receive mentoring from Fortum, and will also be provided with an opportunity to become a commercial partner and a supporter in application of market-oriented R&D funding.

Also read: Fortum and Clean Motion collaborate for battery swap system in India

Finland’s Fortum Oyj eyes business opportunity in EV stations in India