Battery Maker Gogoro Signs USD 2.5B MoU With Maharashtra Government
Even as the government think tank Niti Aayog works to finalise a policy for battery swapping in the country, Taiwan-based battery swapping service provider and electric two-wheeler maker Gogoro is partnering with the state of Maharashtra and two-wheeler & three-wheeler chassis maker Belrise Industries to build the world's largest such system over eight years. Gogoro will seek funding for this project from large external investors and infrastructure funds. "The infrastructure will provide open access for various purposes, including battery swapping for electric vehicles, shared mobility, demand response services, distributed energy storage and smart agriculture. Gogoro already has a partnership with Hero MotoCorp, the country's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, and is looking to work with more OEMs as its swap stations and battery pack solutions become available. On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos on Tuesday, the state of Maharashtra signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gogoro & Belrise.
"We're creating a partnership to build an infrastructure where it's always been a chicken and egg situation: should electric vehicle come up first or charging infrastructure. With this MoU, battery swapping infrastructure will move fast. Maharashtra has landed on Gogoro after looking at all the technologies in the world. Besides deploying battery swapping stations to power up vehicles, we'll also be able to do bi-directional exchange with the grid, where Gogoro's swap stations can help balance the load on the electricity grid", Horace Luke, founder and CEO, Gogoro.
"We'll get stations into Mumbai and Pune, among other densely populated cities, immediately. Our commitment has always been to build out a large part of our infrastructure towards the second half of this year. So this MoU is a stepping stone towards that. In dense cities because of safety, space and time constraints, at-home charging or direct public charging can be challenging. This is where we feel battery swapping is a viable solution.", Luke said.
B2B was the initial focus, but it is shifting to B2C.
While Gogoro is currently testing battery swapping for gig workers with EV maker Zypp Electric, Luke has his sights set on the retail business, where individual users will use battery swapping, a model that has so far failed to scale in India.
"When FAME-II subsidies sunset, why would you want to buy a battery which forms 35%-40% of an EV", Luke said.
Gogoro partners with OEMs such as Yamaha and Suzuki in Taiwan for its battery swapping solution, in which Gogoro's battery pack can be used with these OEMs' vehicles, making it interoperable for users who swap batteries at Gogoro stations. It also has its own branded vehicles in Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and other countries, as well as ten OEM partners in the two and three-wheeler segments.
Gogoro has been campaigning against standardising battery specifications in order to qualify for incentives under an upcoming national battery swapping scheme.
"Our feedback to the government has been to build an open and accessible ecosystem. 99% of the industry has asked the government not to standardize battery specs and build an open platform to let the technology prove itself against others", Luke told Mint.
"We've been speaking to all leading two-wheeler OEMs. Everyone is looking to get a sense of how big the infra is and whether there is govt support here. A lot of preliminary conversation has happen and the MoU will initiate a lot of new conversations with OEMs", he added.