Growth of EV Battery Swapping Station - Locations, Standards, Costs for Electric Vehicle Battery Swap Market - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Last Updated: February 2020 by Narasimhan Santhanam

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Battery swapping refers to the replacement of a discharged battery with a charged battery. The stand-by charged batteries at the swapping centers are not owned by the vehicle owners; these are leased or rented out. This practice is gaining popularity due to quick turnaround. However, swapping is expensive due to the requirement of an increased number of stand-by batteries and a huge space for their storage and the need for sophisticated equipment such as robots at the service stations for handling a high volume of swapping operations.

For battery swapping to grow, the following conditions should be met:

  • Find strategic locations
  • Standardized battery pack, so one station can service all cars or design EVs with automated battery swapping in mind
  • Continue to reduce battery cost while assuring customers that the battery they are receiving is just as good as the one they are leaving behind

Types of Battery Swapping Stations

  • Side – swapping: Applicable to commercial electric vehicles such buses and sanitation trucks which have battery packs installed in both sides of the vehicle body
  • Rear-swapping: Applicable to electric passenger vehicles such as private cars and taxis, with battery packs installed in the trunk of the vehicle body.
  • Bottom-swapping: Applicable to electric passenger vehicles such as private cars and taxis, with battery packs installed in the chassis of the vehicle body

Challenges for EV Battery Swapping

  • Standardization of EV Lithium Ion Battery Packs has not happened globally. The probability of this happening in India is questionable. This is so because, majority of the auto OEMs prefer to control their design strategies for battery packs as their core technology.
  • Lack of Commercially Viable Business Modelssince Indian government is eschewing subsidies to create a viable non-subsidized commercially sound model is extremely important.
  • Reliability of Leased/Rented Battery Packs gets accentuated in India. In quest of achieving profitability, if battery providers short change the customer and therefore causing a potential breach may lead to a serious disaster of swapping business and can create larger controversies as well.

Technical Challenges 

  • Battery Degradation:- Battery performance degrades over time, and as a result the range attainable with each charge. In a battery swap scenario, considering that all cars will be using the same battery pack format and power, we will find batteries with different energy storage capacities in the swapping station, mainly due to degradation. 
  • User Expectations: Logically, most people will opt for newer battery packs when swapping, as they give greater range and reduce the number of trips required to the swapping station. Lower capacity packs means that range with EVs will not be the same as with new packs, so users will not be happy when their new battery pack is swapped with a lower performance pack, as they will get less mileage from their vehicle. 
  • Infrastructure:- The infrastructure required for the battery packs is more complex and expensive than charging.

ACME - Charger

Battery swapping requires additional charging towers where used batteries can be charged before it can be swapped

Marketing/Administrative Challenges

  • Interchangeability: For a technology to succeed and become a dominant trend, one feature is absolutely essential: Cross Platform / Brand Compatibility. OEMs should join hands with battery manufacturers and swapping service providers to come up with commonality in batteries for different types of vehicles so that it will lead to easy operation of EVs. (Source)

Swapping Stations in India

  • October 2019 – Sun Mobility and Bescom together starts a two and three wheeler battery swapping station at Bangalore. The users can swap their drained batteries for charged ones and will be paying only for the cost of electricity.
  • September 2019 – Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has launched a public battery swapping station for buses with a capacity of 12 batteries at a time. The buses are tendered from Ashok Leyland under gross cost model, which means Ashok Leyland will own, operate and maintain the buses, while AMC will pay the company a per kilometer rate
  • July 2019 – Smart E in partnership with Sun Mobility, Delhi metro, Exicom, Panasonic and Amararaja set up a two wheeler and three wheeler battery station at NCR, Delhi. Also, Lithium Urban has 6 EV Swapping Points (LSPs) in North and North-West Delhi for electric three wheelers.
  • June 2019 – Ola has set up its own battery swapping stations for three wheeler fleets at Gurgaon. In Ola’s case, with battery-swapping stations, the driver doesn’t own the batteries at all and Ola has total control of their management from start to end.

To make swapping more prominent and user friendly, proper standards have to be defined and guidelines to be made, so that there will be a consistency throughout the country.


Know more on the EV charging ecosystem in India from: Components of EVSE | Bharath DC001 | Bharat AC001 | EVSE Growth Trends | Battery Swapping Growth Trends | EVSE Cost components | EVSE installation costs | Battery swapping in India | Indian EVSE Stakeholders | Charger Standards | Current Indian EVSE status | EVSE ChallengesEVSE during 2020-2030 |

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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