Honda to enter battery swapping business for e-rickshaws in India

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 29 Oct 2021

Japan’s Honda Motor Co., has announced plans to begin a battery sharing service for electric rickshaws in India, in the first half of 2022, using its all new portable and swappable batteries christened ‘Honda Mobile Power Pack e:’.

The company says as the economy continues to grow in India and the increasing energy demand is leading to worsening of air pollution. To address these issues, country-wide efforts are being made to expand utilisation of renewable energy and to actively pursue electrification of the transportation sector, which accounts for approximately 20% of India’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that more than 8 million auto rickshaws in India provide essential means of daily transportation for people.

In urban areas, the autorickshaws are powered mainly by CNG (compressed natural gas) and have been a key challenge for electrification. Honda Motor Co says electrified mobility products currently available in the market are facing three issues: short-range, long charging time and high cost of batteries. In order to contribute to India’s effort to accelerate electrification and expand the use of renewable energy, Honda will work to eliminate these three issues through the use of swappable batteries and by sharing such batteries. To this end, the Japanese major will start a battery sharing service for electric autorickshaws, using MPP e: in the first half of 2022.

In consideration of this new business, Honda had began demonstration testing in India in February 2021, with 30 units of electric autorickshaws driven for a total of more than 200,000km in operation. Through this testing, Honda has identified issues to be addressed and verified business viability.

The company says its battery sharing service will enable rickshaw drivers to stop by at the nearest battery swapping stations being set up in the city and swap a MPP e: with a low remaining charge for a fully-charged MPP e:. The use of this service will significantly reduce driver concern about running out of batteries as well as the risk of losing business opportunities with customers while waiting for rickshaw batteries to be charged.

To begin this service, Honda will establish a local subsidiary in India to conduct a battery sharing service business. The subsidiary 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: “Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP) 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 utilization of the MPP into broader areas.”

Honda Mobile Power Pack e: (MPP e:) is a portable and swappable lithium-ion battery comes with a capacity of more than 1.3kWh.

Key features
High versatility: In addition to mobility products, MPP e: can be utilized as a power source for a broad range of compatible devices.

High durability: By considering heat dissipation during continuous discharging, deterioration due to high temperature is prevented, and sufficient water resistance, vibration resistance and shock resistance are ensured under the expected normal operating environment.

Data utilisation: The built-in control unit recognises the conditions of the MPP e: and records the occurrence of all events. This data will be collected through the connector while MPP e: is charging and then utilised for the battery sharing operation and other secondary uses.

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