Working Paper

Cost comparison of battery swapping, point charging, and ICE two-wheelers in India

Electrification Zero-emission vehicles

Although not many of the current two-wheeler models in India support battery-swapping, both Sun Mobility and Hero MotoCorp (the latter in partnership with Gogoro) have recently made progress toward offering this service. Battery swapping is an innovative electric vehicle refueling model that can be used by vehicles with a detachable battery. When the battery’s charge gets depleted, the driver can go to a battery-swapping station to replace the depleted battery with a fully charged one within just a few minutes. The batteries are owned, maintained, and charged by the swapping service, and the vehicle operator pays a fee for the service.

This paper evaluates if electric two-wheelers in India with the battery-swapping option have achieved cost parity relative to electric two-wheelers with the point charging option and with conventional gasoline two-wheelers. The authors consider this by estimating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of two-wheelers across three use cases—personal use, ride-hailing, and last-mile delivery. Results show that for all three use cases, the electric two-wheelers with point-charging and battery-swapping options are considerably cheaper than the gasoline two-wheeler. Additionally, while two-wheelers with battery swapping are costlier than two-wheelers with point charging for the personal and last-mile delivery use cases, the opposite is true in the case of ride-hailing operation, where the TCO of the electric Okinawa iPraise+ with swapping is 15% less than that of the Okinawa iPraise+ with point charging and 3% less than the Ather 450X with point charging. The fueling cost is the largest cost contributor across all types of uses for the battery-swapping option. If this cost is reduced, the battery-swapping model will become more cost-attractive because it has the unique advantages of zero opportunity cost and zero battery-replacement cost.