Hero MotoCorp to introduce battery swapping network

Gogoro battery swap taking place in Taiwan

Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest maker of two-wheeler vehicles, today announced a tie-up with Taiwan-based Gogoro to introduce the latter’s battery swapping technology in India.

Hero MotoCorp, one of the biggest makers of electric scooters in India, will bring Gogoro’s battery swapping platform to India.

Under the agreement, Hero will get access to Gogoro’s innovations and intellectual property — including its intelligent drivetrains and controllers, components and smart systems — to develop and roll-out electric vehicles with battery swapping.

Battery swapping is considered by many to be the future of electric vehicle mobility due to the convenience of replenishing the charge inside a vehicle in just a couple of minutes, instead of the half an hour or more required by quick chargers.

Besides cost, long charging times is the biggest challenge facing the EV industry today.

While swappable batteries are still found only in a minority of vehicles, they are considered more suitable for the long-term.

Pawan Munjal, Chairman and CEO, Hero MotoCorp, said Gogoro — with its 2,000 swapping stations — has already proven the swapping business model over the years in Taiwan and the rest of the world.

He said Hero has been exploring the technology at his in-house R&D labs.

“This partnership will further enhance the work and partnerships that we already have in our EV portfolio. This will further extend the work which we are doing at our R & D hubs at the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur & our Tech Centre in Germany.

“Hero and Gogoro’s vision and commitment are perfectly aligned towards the common goal of accelerating the shift to smart, sustainable electric mobility in India, and around the world,” the chairman said.

Established in 2011, Gogoro claims to support 3.75 lakh riders using its 2,000 swapping stations.

The company claims to conduct 2.65 lakh battery swaps every day, with a cumulative total of 174 million so far.

Given that the lithium ion batteries used inside scooters are only 2-3 kg in weight, they can be easily swapped by the rider by opening the seat cover (see photo).

Similar technology is also being used for heavier vehicles like cars, but in such cases, the swapping process is automated and takes place using a robotic arm.