At least 200 electric scooters are lined up, and hundreds of batteries and chargers are scattered around one of the centres of Zypp Electric, which provides electric vehicles (EVs) for last-mile delivery, in Gurugram. In the narrow, dusty lane in one of India’s IT hubs, delivery staff from foodtechs Swiggy, Zomato, and e-grocer Zepto await their turn.
Six seconds. That’s all the time it will take for the new set-up—a fully automated battery-swapping station—to replace depleted batteries in a scooter with fully charged ones. Fancy.
But it is the Taiwanese EV giant, Gogoro, that is making waves at the centre. A vibrant, green, stylish e-scooter is on display for the riders to test drive.
The two-wheeler, as well as the station, are part of a pilot project project Economic Times Gogoro joins with Zypp Electric for battery swapping of last-mile delivery fleets Read more in India’s national capital region (NCR) under a partnership between the EV company and the shared-mobility startup. And it comes after months of speculation and uncertainty over Gogoro’s plans in the country. Thanks to policy roadblocks.
Gogoro, in its homeland, controls different stages in the EV supply chain: it makes e-scooters, batteries, and swap stations. But its India entry comes with a set of challenges.
Swappable batteries attract high taxes in the country. At the same time, two-wheelers sold without pre-installed batteries are not eligible for subsidies under the central government’s FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme. Also, much of the market for these vehicles, particularly e-rickshaws, exists in the informal sector and is operated through franchise models.
Gogoro, though, seems to have a plan. After all, it has been eyeing the world’s second-largest two-wheeler market for a while. Horace Luke, the company’s founder and chief executive (CEO), referred to the country as the “holy grail” in an interview following its most recent quarterly results.
In 2021, it partnered with two-wheeler-maker Hero MotoCorp to set up an open platform for battery swapping. It has also joined forces with manufacturing giant Foxconn to work on battery technology and vehicle engineering for expansion in India and China. However, the pilot project with Zypp will be the one to introduce Gogoro’s scooters and battery-swap stations in the country.
The company is testing some 100 electric scooters, batteries, and swapping stations as part of Zypp’s fleet. The business-to-business (B2B) project’s tests will likely last six to eight months, during which the company will seek inputs on adapting the scooters and swap stations to local conditions.