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Post at: Jun 10 2022

NITI Ayog’s Draft Policy on Battery Swapping

Why in news ?

  • Niti Aayog has released  draft Battery Swapping Policy on  20th April 2022  and has invited comments on it until June 5.
  • The draft policy has highlighted the key areas which the centre’s approach towards facilitating a strong EV battery swapping infrastructure will be based around.

What is battery swapping?

  • Battery swapping is a mechanism that involves exchanging discharged batteries for charged ones. 
  • This provides the flexibility to charge these batteries separately by de-linking charging and battery usage.
  • It  keeps the vehicle in operational mode with negligible downtime. 
  • Battery swapping is generally used for smaller vehicles such as two-wheelers and three-wheelers with smaller batteries .
  • Although solutions are emerging for these larger segments as well.

Some of the key Proposals

  • GST Council consider reducing the differential across the tax rates on Lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicle supply equipment. 
    • Currently, the tax rate on the former is 18 per cent, and 5 per cent on the latter.
  • Same incentives available to electric vehicles that come pre-equipped with a fixed battery to electric vehicles with swappable batteries.
    • Size of the incentive could be determined based on the kWh (kilowatt hour) rating of the battery and compatible EV.
  • State governments to ensure public battery charging stations are eligible for EV power connections with concessional tariffs.
  • Municipal corporations will be responsible for planning, zoning permissions and land allocation for battery swapping stations.
  • The policy also proposes to assign a Unique Identification Number (UIN) to swappable batteries at the manufacturing stage to help track and monitor them.
  • It also proposes to install battery swapping stations at several locations like-
    • Retail fuel outlets, public parking areas, malls, kirana shops and general stores etc.

Battery-as-a-service (BaaS) model

  • Such models would have to ensure interoperability between EVs and batteries for a successful mainstreaming of battery swapping.
  • Major battery providers will be encouraged to sign data-sharing agreements.
  • The policy will only support batteries using Advanced Chemistry Cells (ACC), with performance that is equivalent or superior to EV batteries supported under the government’s FAME-II scheme.

About EV safety

  • To ensure a high level of protection at the electrical interface, a rigorous testing protocol will be adopted.
  • Batteries shall be tested and certified as per AIS 156 (2020) and AIS 038 Rev 2 (2020) standards for safety of traction battery packs.
  • Swappable batteries will have to be equipped with advanced features like IoT-based battery monitoring systems, remote monitoring and immobilisation capabilities.

Timeline 

  • All metropolitan cities with a population of more than 40 lakh will be prioritized under the first phase.
  • It will be  within 1-2 years of the draft policy getting finalised.
  • Other major cities such as state capitals with a population greater than 5 lakh will be covered under the second phase.

Nodal agencies 

  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), the Central Nodal Agency responsible for the rollout of EV public charging infrastructure.

FISCAL SUPPORT

  • Battery Providers shall receive the subsidy and subsidies may be linked to the UIN of EVs.

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