Leasing of lithium-ion batteries for 3-wheelers to be rolled out soon in Kolkata – ET Auto

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‘This will empower e-rickshaws, with GPS-enabled lithium-ion batteries, zipping through the lanes of Kolkata.’

On the streets of Kolkata and surrounding areas, e-rickshaws, popularly known as ‘toto’, are set to be powered by lithium-ion batteries with the rolling out of a battery leasing model, officials said on Sunday. Neuron Energy, a lithium-ion battery maker, has joined hands with Urja Mobility to spearhead the leasing model which has so far been heard only in the business-to-business EV sector, they said.

“We’re kick-starting this journey from Bengal, offering lithium-ion batteries for e-rickshaws on a lease model with our financing partner, Urja Mobility. Our sights are set on expanding to other markets soon,” said Pratik Kamdar, CEO & Co-Founder of Neuron Energy.

This will empower e-rickshaws, with GPS-enabled lithium-ion batteries, zipping through the lanes of Kolkata, he said.

“Together, we are targeting a fleet of 50 lakh e-rickshaws across the country, with a significant number in this state, aiming to replace the outdated lead-acid batteries with modern, efficient, and environmentally friendly alternatives in a lease model,” he said.

For users, leasing is similar to paying EMI as pay-per-use without owning the asset.

A lithium-ion battery is also cost-effective in the long run due to its durability but the entry price is still at least twice that of a lead acid battery, he said.

Asked about security concerns in the leasing model, the official said the batteries are equipped with GPS tracking and provision to deactivate the battery pack remotely.

The shift to lithium-ion batteries isn’t just a technological upgrade and it’s a response to the growing environmental concern associated with lead-acid batteries, Kamdar said.

The Delhi government has already taken a stand by banning their use for e-rickshaws.

Under the strategic alliance, Urja Mobility will procure batteries directly from Neuron Energy, leasing them to fleet companies and individual EV owners through an extensive network of authorised distributors.

“Our asset-light model promises flexibility and accessibility for electric vehicle owners. With a monthly lease rental of just Rs 4,500 and a three-year contract, we’re making green transportation accessible to all,” said Pankaj Chopra, CEO of Urja Mobility.

West Bengal is considered India’s e-three-wheeler manufacturing hub with around 15 per cent share and the state accounts for over 12 per cent of all EVs produced.

Neuron Energy’s co-founder Raj Shah said that their secret has been the ability to offer customised solutions with a rapid turnaround time, leading to a continuous rise in sales.

Kamdar shed light on the economic aspect, noting that the price of lithium-ion batteries has dropped from a peak of USD 140 per kWh to a more affordable USD 80-85, with expectations of price stability in the near future.

  • Published On Apr 15, 2024 at 08:09 AM IST

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