Taiwanese BAAS (battery-as-a-service) giant Gogoro recently started a pilot in Delhi for last-mile delivery operations in partnership with Zypp Electric. We caught up with Gogoro’s Kaushik Burman – General Manager and MD (India), to learn more about Gogoro’s international operations and their plans for the Indian market.
Can you give us an idea of Gogoro’s current plans for the Indian market?
India is the largest two-wheeler market by addressable market opportunity and spends about 6% of its GDP on fossil fuel imports. A large part of the Indian population uses two-wheelers for daily commute. Also, there is a humongous amount of fuel consumption in the logistics segment. The decarbonization of the logistics segment is a big priority for us. This segment has a few pain points for the fleet owner-operator, the first being expensive fossil fuel. Even if they wish to switch from ICE to EV, the charging infrastructure bottleneck and charging downtime does not allow the switch to happen. Considering these factors and our cities’ densities, battery swapping is indeed a silver bullet.
We are executing operational pilots to validate this hypothesis. We have launched a pilot with Zypp Electric to test our hypothesis around multiple use cases. Over the next few months, we are going to analyse the data and learn from the market.
On the other hand, we have been working diligently with the Indian authorities for the past couple of years to provide inputs on regulations and standards development. We have also set up the Indian Battery Swap Association (IBSA) with like-minded players like Sun Mobility, Piaggio, Hero MotoCorp etc.
What is the main reason you are starting with the B2B deliveries segment?
For a battery-swapping network provider, getting a critical mass of subscribers is very important. Battery swapping is about sweating your assets and ensuring optimal asset utilization. Essential data points such as the number of routes taken, number of deliveries, swap count per day, rider behaviour and patterns around swapping can be picked up from a segment that uses the service more often. Given that Zypp serves multiple clients across multiple use cases, we aim to gather and use insights in our product roadmap.
Is there a specific make of EVs or batteries that are being used for this pilot?
Our batteries, swap stations, and vehicles are all homologated by the ARAI. The set of vehicles that we are running in the pilot are imported from Taiwan, and the batteries have been homologated in India.
What is the current and potential scale of this pilot?
We are making a humble start in Delhi and NCR with six battery swap stations and a hundred vehicles, which could be scaled across multiple cities. Plenty of fleet owner-operators have reached out to us for similar pilots. We can expect multiple city pilots to get off the ground in the next five to six months.
Do you have any specific timelines in terms of how long this pilot is going to be before you take the next step?
There will be concurrent pathways.
We have started with the Gogoro2 scooter in this pilot, but there could be other vehicles that we can bring in. We can choose to go deep into one city or expand to several cities. We look forward to making thousands and thousands of deliveries and getting feedback on the rides.
How do you plan to use the data that you collect through this pilot?
We collect the rider data, battery health data, and swap station data. Within rider data, there could be 10 different types of variables to determine. We gather multiple data points at the swap station, such as peak power versus off-peak power swap behaviours, certain network routes where the riders are doing maximum swaps, and demand versus supply. On the battery side, we collect battery state of charge and state of health data, which lets us know whether the rider’s driving behaviour has an impact on the health of the battery, how the climatic conditions impact battery performance etc. So a lot comes out of this study, which goes into the design of products, both on the vehicle side and the network side.
India is a large three-wheeler market as well. So have you thought about supporting the three-wheeler swapping operations as well going forward?
Yes. We already have a three-wheeler product in Taiwan. We work with many OEM partners to develop different products. Today we have ten OEM partnerships which make 47 different SKUs, including two-wheelers and three-wheelers. In Taiwan, we have three-wheelers ranging between 8 kW to 13 kW. In India, we will require some more time to work with multiple OEM partners in the three-wheel space and figure out the best combination of batteries, motor output and power rating. Discussions are happening, and we are very excited about the three-wheel market as well in India, especially for commercial delivery.
When can we expect more updates about Gogoro-Hero MotoCorp cooperation?
Hero Motocorp is a strategic partner, and we will continue discussing the roadmap to decarbonise the two-wheeler transportation sector. Gogoro is an open platform and will leverage its technology to provide wider choices to customers along with its partners in India.
What India-specific challenges do you see for Gogoro?
When you create a new category bottom up, there will be challenges in terms of getting the requisite capital and human resources, installing the first few hundred swap stations and adapting quickly to the complexity and the size of India for a company from Taiwan. How we leverage certain partnerships will be very important. Foxconn is one of our strategic partners. Another challenge is to ensure that products, raw materials and electronics are made available
at the right cost. These are some of the on-ground challenges that we’ll need to figure out.
Can you tell us more about Gogoro’s operations and piloting in other Asian markets?
In Battery-as-a-Service operations, the battery is always owned and operated by the network service provider. The customer owns the vehicle, and we promise a certain battery availability SLA (service level agreement) to the customer. The customer receives a monthly post-paid bill depending on the amount of energy consumed.
In Taiwan, we are doing about 370,000 swaps a day, 40 million swaps annually and have over 2,400 locations where the swap cabinets are installed. We have crossed about 1.1 million unique batteries in circulation. The way Gogoro’s success story has unravelled in Taiwan is that as the infrastructure on battery swapping got built, both with government support and Gogoro’s investment, the entire market gravitated from direct charging to battery swapping because it offers. Both B2B logistics and personal mobility have moved completely to battery swapping in Taiwan.
In Indonesia, we started a pilot with GoJek around 8 months ago, which has scaled to almost 600 scooters on the road and multiple swap stations. We are working with the ministries in Indonesia and the Philippines to write national battery-swapping standards. We will launch a pilot for the delivery use case in Manila next year in partnership with Globe’s 917Ventures and Ayala Corporation.
Gogoro Singapore collaborated with industry stakeholders in the LTA (Land Transport Authority) constituted taskforce on battery swapping standards development. Enterprise Singapore published the TR25 (Technical reference 25) standards which, for the first time, include battery swapping national standards.
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