Kinetic Green, BPCL in e-mobility partnership; plan India-wide battery swapping network with IIT Madras IoT tech

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 03 Feb 2020


L-R: D Rajkumar, CMD, BPCL; Professor Dr Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT Madras; Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO, Kinetic Green and P S Ravi, ED, BPCL Retail.

Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions, which manufactures electric vehicles, and public sector oil and gas major Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) have signed an agreement for the launch of ‘e-Drive’, an electric vehicle mobility solution based on swappable battery technology.

Under the alliance, a range of electric three wheelers, specially designed for facilitating swappable battery and a two-minute battery swap will be deployed by Kinetic Green and BPCL, with support from IIT Madras. It will provide smart lithium-ion batteries and set up battery swapping stations across the country.

The Kinetic-BPCL solution has already been implemented on a fleet of Kinetic Green electric three-wheelers at Kochi and Lucknow. The vehicles under the swappable platform are deployed near the high traffic metro stations and offer last mile connectivity to passengers at just Rs 10.  The operation runs from 6 am to 10 pm and drivers can opt for one or multiple swaps per day. The two companies will now expand the alliance to cover many more cities across the country over next few months.

Keeping range anxiety at bay
According to Kinetic Green and BPCL, this model is designed to address some of the critical concerns and deterrents faced by drivers for owning and operating electric three- wheelers. Due to separation of battery from the EV, initial EV cost is halved and brought below the price of ICE counterparts. Range anxiety is also eliminated as drivers can swap their battery for a new one, if they need to go a longer distance. Re-charging time is eliminated as battery swapping takes only 2 minutes. The alliance facilitates a convenient battery network as BPCL can leverage its existing 12,000 gas stations to erect the battery swapping stations, making it very convenient for passengers to access them.

 

Inaugurating this initiative in Chennai today, Ms. Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO, Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions, said, “Kinetic Green is extremely happy to partner with BPCL to bring this ground-breaking innovative solution for its customers of ‘EV with Swappable Battery Technology’. This solution reduces upfront cost of EV by 50%, and customers never have to worry about battery charging and replacement. We are confident this solution will revolutionise the EV industry in India, especially for intra-city and last mile transport. It will not only pave way for rapid electrification towards cleaner air and affordable mass transport; but also create large scale self- employment.”

 

Speaking about the association with Kinetic Green, D Rajkumar, chairman and MD of BPCL said, “With e-Drive, we strive to create a new ecosystem with active collaborations and technological interventions. We are very excited about this new initiative which heralds the opening up of a new revenue stream and potentially a new line of business for BPCL.”

IIT Madras lends a helping hand
Kinetic and BPCL have developed the solution in association with IIT Chennai for a comprehensive IOT based system, a lock smart battery with VBCC protocol for charging, and host of safety features. The system monitors the battery and station, which are IoT enabled and linked to an app. Battery location, SOC and performance can be tracked in real time. The Smart Network provides real-time feedback to users. ‘e-Drive’ uses special lithium ion batteries have been developed; each battery weighs about 12kg and thus can be easily removed and replaced. The stations are modular, intelligent and connected. Its multi-platform is compatible for e-bike, e-auto and an e- rickshaw. It is understood that for an e-rickshaw, two batteries or 3kwh will be used for a range of 50-60km and for a high speed e-auto, three batteries will be used, allowing the vehicles for a quick swap in less than 2 minutes.