Two-Minute Battery Changes Propel India’s Shift to E-Scooters

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India’s government is looking to battery swapping to fuel EV uptake, a crucial move if the nation is to meet its carbon goals.

For time-pressed delivery drivers in Bengaluru, replenishing the batteries of the electric auto rickshaws increasingly being used to ferry everything from people to groceries around India’s teeming tech hub can now take just a matter of minutes.

Sagyarani, a 38-year-old e-shuttle driver for MetroRide, pulls up to one of startup Sun Mobility’s 14 automated orange-and-black booths, taps her authentication key to open a vacant compartment, inserts a drained battery and pulls out a fully powered pack. That means more hours on the road transporting commuters to metro stations, MetroRide’s main business. Another bonus: it costs just 50 rupees (67 cents) to swap out a single fully discharged battery, which is about half the price of 1 liter (¼ gallon) of gasoline.