Founded in 2019 by Akshay Kashyap and Varun Goenka, Chargeup is building country’s one of the largest network of Battery Swapping Stations for e-rickshaws. The company is helping India achieve its electric mobility target by creating the largest distribution network for electric 2 & 3 wheelers. It has deployed an advanced technology based approach and offer Battery as a Service (BaaS) solutions to the e-rickshaw drivers, The firm enable them to join the service without any upfront costs. The daily battery rental plan allows drivers to visit the swapping station 2-3 times a day and get the discharged batteries swapped with fully charged ones.
Varun Goenka, Co-founder and CEO, Chargeup in an exclusive interview with Climate Samurai said, we have created a distinct value through our standardization of battery technology and execution processes which help us deliver the brand promise of 2-minute battery swap within a radius of 2 km. This has enabled us to ensure twice the revenue for our drivers and dealer partners. Here is the excerpt from the exclusive interview :-
What will be the major highlights of growth for your company in 2021-22?
Chargeup has the advantage of being an early mover in the Indian EV battery charging sector which has helped us to use the data for a better battery technology and blocking the prime locations for 5 years through our franchise model.
“We are rapidly expanding our BSS network and will be soon expanding to other cities of northern india. “
While servicing the E-Rickshaw market, we will be leveraging this network to delivery companies to cater their E-Loaders and further supporting the ecosystem by reducing costs and hassles of battery maintenance and downtime. We are rapidly expanding our BSS network and will be soon expanding to other cities of northern india.
The pandemic has almost wrecked the spine of the auto industry globally; do you agree that the government’s vision of all-electric vehicles by 2030 is now a distant dream? How long will it take to make the vision come true?
The auto industry has taken a hit, but it is not an isolated phenomenon as most of the industries are going through the same downturn. We believe that the government’s vision of converting 30% vehicles into EVs by 2030 is a realistic goal and one that will make transport sustainable and more affordable for the masses. However, to achieve this goal, the government needs to support battery swapping services and also take financial steps such as tax benefits and facilitating access to easy loans for EVs.
If given the chance to rate the health of the electric vehicle industry at the moment on a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate it? Why?
Would rate it 3, because still very few players are focused on providing a robust Vehicle and Battery technology required as per Indian Climatic conditions and driving patterns. Any deteriorated product can hamper the growth of the industry.
One of the biggest challenges associated with EVs are less range, slow charging time, battery life, and lack of awareness, how can this be addressed?
There is a lot of work going on towards overcoming these challenges, and the genesis of Chargeup lies in resolving problems like range, charging time, battery life and awareness etc. We spent considerable time and effort researching and fine-tuning our battery swapping services which are a panacea for all these problems.
“A battery costs up to 40% of an EV, and once we take the battery out of the vehicle’s cost, a 20 lakh rupees vehicle could be sold for as low as 12-15 lakh”
In fact, the biggest impact of battery swapping services is made on the affordability of the EVs. A battery costs up to 40% of an EV, and once we take the battery out of the vehicle’s cost, a 20 lakh rupees vehicle could be sold for as low as 12-15 lakh, making it an ideal proposition for public transport and fleet operators.
“Chargeup is now set to expand its coverage to electric 2-wheelers and other LCVs to resolve the teething problems and pave the way for mass EV adoption in India.”
Further, the battery swapping solutions providers take care of battery maintenance and charging which further makes owning and operating EVs affordable and easy. If the battery gets discharged, it can be swapped with a fully charged battery in a matter of minutes, and the drivers don’t have to worry about range.
As Bharat’s leading battery swapping solutions provider for e-rickshaws, Chargeup is now set to expand its coverage to electric 2-wheelers and other LCVs to resolve the teething problems and pave the way for mass EV adoption in India.
When we talk about electric vehicles the first thing that comes to our mind is “its environment friendly” how honestly these vehicles care about the planet?
Unlike other cleaner and low emission vehicles such as those powered by CNG or PNG, electric vehicles are truly emission free as far as their operations are concerned.
“Replacing the conventional fossil fuel driven vehicles with EVs is already reducing hundreds of tonnes of GHG emissions in India”
These vehicles don’t have a combustion engine running on any kind of fossil fuels which makes them truly clean. Replacing the conventional fossil fuel driven vehicles with EVs is already reducing hundreds of tonnes of GHG emissions in India, and this is just the beginning.
Mining lithium for batteries, plus how they are charged, can affect an EV’s impact on the environment and they have been subject to criticism by environmentalists. Now the biggest challenge that adds up to this criticism is the recycling or handling of the batteries…. Do you think there is an urgent need to train more and more young mind about handling and recycling and to put a policy in place for recycling before the country turns into a dumping ground?
“There is a need on the policy front, as well as developing the know-how on 2nd life of batteries and its recycling. “
I agree with the current criticism on its environmental impact, we need to measure its impact against vehicular emissions which is the 3rd most Co2 emitting factor. Yes, but there is a need on the policy front, as well as developing the know-how on 2nd life of batteries and its recycling.
Share your views on the current Electric Vehicle policy and what changes need to be made to support startups and increase jobs in this domain?
The EV policy in India is a well thought out and future focused strategy. One of the key elements of the policy is the switch from conventional vehicles to EVs for which the focus has to be on realigning the auto-ancillary industry in India. The change from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles can force a lot of these industries to go out of business and create unemployment.
“The change from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles can force a lot of these industries to go out of business and create unemployment.”
A careful hand holding is required to mitigate such effects and to help these companies and their workforce to become a part of the domestic battery manufacturing sector. According to the European Climate Foundation, despite the rising popularity of EVs, Indian auto sector’s employment numbers are likely to grow up to the 2030s. The EV industry is expected to create over 2 million jobs by 2050. Thus, once there is a strategic framework in place to facilitate the existing workforce’s transition into EV manufacturing, it will only help more people get jobs and there are not likely to be any adverse implications.
Battery swapping – the key to sustainable environment
Battery swapping is one of the core areas of focus for global EV policy makers and manufacturers. The service drastically reduces the costs of EVs and also paves way for standardization of battery technologies.
“By making them affordable for the buyers, battery swapping is truly proving to be the key to a sustainable environment. “
EVs are our best hope to curb environmental pollution and a key component of India’s strategy to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing GHG emissions up to 30% by 2030. By making them affordable for the buyers, battery swapping is truly proving to be the key to a sustainable environment.
Chargeup’s plea to the government
As an early entrant into the EV charging sector, we urge the government and other EV industry stakeholders to work collaboratively towards inclusion of EVs and batteries in Priority Sector Lending. We are confident that supporting the battery swapping solutions would eventually lead to a faster EV adoption in India.
“We are confident that supporting the battery swapping solutions would eventually lead to a faster EV adoption in India. “