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Pradeep Pattanayak

With a view to encourage people to switch from traditional vehicles to electric vehicles, the Central government is going to introduce ‘battery swapping policy’. 

In the middle of journey, if the battery of an e-vehicle runs out of charge, the owner/driver has to pull in at a charging station and wait until his battery gets charged. However, with the introduction of the new policy, the owners/drivers will no longer have to waste their valuable time at charging centers. They can have a fully charged battery in exchange of their chargeless battery, of course by paying something towards the charging cost. 

During her fourth budget speech on February 1, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had informed about the ‘battery swapping policy’. “Considering the constraints of space in urban areas for setting up charging centers, a bettery swapping policy will be brought out and interoperability standards will be formulated,” she said in her Budget speech in the Parliament. 

Meanwhile, e-vehicle owners have welcomed the Central government’s decision. However, at the same time, they said they are still in doubt about the success of the policy. 

"I own an e-auto rickshaw. It takes four hours to get the battery fully charged and it lasts as far as 120 kms. The guarantee period is three years. During the period, I must have replaced my original battery. Now the question arises is if something happens to my battery during the guarantee period, how can I avail the benefits since I won’t have the original battery by then,” asked Samir Nayak, an e-vehicle driver. 

Samaresh Nayak, an e-vehicle owner has also a question. “The policy will benefit those who buy latest models. But those own old models, like me, will suffer as our batteries are not detachable,” Nayak said. 

Similarly, another such vehicle owner Manas Ranjan Dalei has also doubts about the success of the policy. “It seems to be a good initiative. But, I think, it will hardly offer any good to the vehicle owners,” Dalei said. 

To drive home his point, Dalei said, “Batteries are not identical. They differ from vehicle to vehicle. So most owners will certainly face problems replacing their batteries.”

The EV dealers also shared similar views. According to them, the policy will be beneficial to only two and three-wheeler owners. 

“The battery swapping centre is not feasible for cars because the batteries used in cars weigh somewhere between two and three quintals,” said Ranjan Mohanty, an EV team leader. Echoing the same issue, owner of Anjali EV showroom Abhisekh Pani wished to know who will own these swapping centres. This apart, he said, “The batteries differ from vehicle to vehicle. Their charging pins are also different. So the government’s first step should be to standardize the battery. The batteries should be of same shape and size with same connectors.”

Notably, the e-vehicle policy has already been in place in Odisha. To boost the use of e-vehicles, the State government is providing 15 percent subsidy. This apart, the tax and registration fee have also been exempted from October 29. The government has set a target of 20 percent market share for e-vehicles by 2025.
 

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