Monday, April 17, 2017
Chetan Maini’s Sun Mobility Plans for Modular Batteries for Electric Vehicles in India
Chetan Maini, the Bangalore entrepreneur was selling electric cars (Reva) in India at the turn of this century, today, at the cusp of a electric vehicle revolution, he is back with a bigger, more audacious plan.
Imagine when you buy your electric car, you don’t pay for the batteries but only for the car. The battery / energy becomes a service, where you pay as you go, much like fuel today. If your battery is running low, you go to the nearest battery swap station and in about the same time (or less) it takes to refuel, someone swaps out your batteries and fits in another one, fully juiced up. You pay as you go and continue on your way.
“The government is massively pushing for electric vehicle adoption. Having an open architecture ecosystem will be necessary to enable that,” says Uday Khemka, vice-chairman of SUN group.
The big question, however, is whether the OEMs will buy into this completely new approach and design their vehicles around it. Here, Maini believes that the OEMs’ need to be part of this emerging industry, combined with limitations in their ability to manage batteries, will see them adopting the open solution readily as it will help them come to market quickly.
Besides addressing the issue of higher pricing of these cars due to the batteries, the solution also enables a faster way to set up infrastructure for electric cars and also provides a quick recharge (by swapping) that’s comparable to a fuel stop. The energy charges (powered by rapidly falling renewable energy prices) are also likely to be cheaper than gasoline.