Piaggio Ape E-city launched with Sun Mobility’s swappable battery tech

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 18 Dec 2019

Piaggio Vehicles, the Indian subsidiary of Piaggio Group, today launched its first electric three-wheeler offering the Ape E-City in partnership with Chetan Maini-backed Sun Mobility. As part of the partnership, the electric Ape E-City will use Sun Mobility's battery integrated open-architecture platform, that supports a variety of two and three-wheelers.

Autocar Professional, had first broken the news on the partnership in June 2019. The e-three-wheeler will be first rolled out in Chandigarh, Mohali and Gurgaon. The partnership will see a network of 50 Sun Mobility Quick Interchange stations, which will be scaled across 10 cities in India, by March 2020. The partnership aims to drive the adoption of affordable and clean last-mile connectivity, while also addressing the current issues around air quality in the regions.

Piaggio says Ape Electrik will have full range of electric vehicles across various categories, and the Ape E-City is the first product launched under the range. The Ape E-City comes with lithium-ion battery, automatic gear box, more power & torque, no gear & clutch, doors for safety and a full digital cluster.

The first in category digital instrument cluster displays information like state of charge, drive modes, service alerts and economy mode among others for advance assistance to drivers. Piaggio says it will offer Ape E-City customers with a super warranty of 36 month/100,000km (Whichever is earlier), along with free scheduled maintenance for 3 years.  In addition, the OEM will provide an optional 3-year AMC package at a nominal cost of Rs 3,000. The Ape E-City comes at an introductory price of Rs 197,000 (ex-New Delhi).

Diego Graffi, MD and CEO, Piaggio Vehicles said, “Ape, a brand with a trust of more than 29 lakh happy customer is paving the way for the Indian electric revolution with the Apee Electrik range and Ape E-City as the first offering. Piaggio Group has a rich heritage of developing electric technology over the last 15 years which we have leveraged to develop these class leading products for India. We have developed both swappable and fixed battery technology solutions to serve the varied needs of the customer. For swappable technology, our partnership with Sun Mobility will enable customers to experience a very innovative, smart and unique swappable smart battery ecosystem in India. We have faith that with the governments focus on EVs in the three-wheeler category and Piaggio’s own vision of developing innovative EV solutions, mass adoption of EVs is a near reality."

"At Piaggio, we believe in providing pathbreaking solutions in the last-mile transportation segment with best-in-class technology offerings to our customers. Our partnership with Sun Mobility will enable customers to experience a very innovative, smart and unique swappable smart battery eco-system in India,” added Graffi.

By separating the batteries from the vehicles, Sun Mobility says it has managed to reduce the upfront cost of the vehicle to be at par with its ICE counterparts. And, by providing the energy infrastructure through a ‘battery as a service’ model, it not only enables a hassle-free, quick and affordable way of refuelling EVs, but also takes away the concerns around high battery-replacement cost, low-life of the battery, and inadequate charging infrastructure.

The stations are connected by a 'Smart Network', where each station will enable 150 swaps per day, in under two minutes; thereby, addressing concerns around range limitations and long refuelling time. The minimal downtime ensures that drivers can account for more trips, resulting in increased earning opportunity.

Chetan Maini, co-founder and vice-chairman, Sun Mobility said: “Our network of swapping stations, along with our ‘pay-as-you-go’ model, combined with our user-friendly app will significantly increase the ease at which drivers can avail our services, and reduce their concerns around driving range, charging times and battery related operational costs. Our proven solution which has clocked over 1 million emission free kilometres and transported more than 1.5 million passengers till date, makes a very compelling value proposition for three-wheeler drivers."

"We are happy to partner with Piaggio and have them be the first three-wheeler OEM on our platform. Their strong product portfolio, along with our solution, makes a very compelling value proposition for three-wheeler drivers. Our aim is to continue to revolutionise the last-mile connectivity across the two and three-wheelers, and buses in the country. And, this is another stepping-stone to achieve that,” added Maini.

Sun Mobility’s energy infrastructure platform comprises of smart batteries that are light-weight, connected, long-life, compact and swappable. The Quick Interchange Stations are compact, easy to install and ensure quick refuelling of electric vehicles and are compatible with multiple vehicle platforms including: two- and three-wheelers (e-rickshaws and e-autos). And lastly, the Smart Network (an IoT-based cloud platform) helps keep a constant check on the battery vitals, tracks batteries in real-time, enables digital authentication, station operations and ensures service delivery optimisation.