Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced plans to begin a battery sharing service for electric tricycle taxis (so-called “rickshaws”) in India, in the first half of 2022, using the Honda Mobile Power Pack e: (“MPP e:”), Honda’s all-new portable and swappable batteries.
In India, as the economy continues to grow, energy demand is increasing and air pollution is worsening. To address these issues, country-wide efforts are being made to expand utilization of renewable energy and to actively pursue electrification of the transportation sector, which accounts for approximately 20% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
There are more than 8 million units of auto rickshaws in India, and they have been an essential means of daily transportation for people. In urban areas, these rickshaws are powered mainly by CNG (compressed natural gas) and have been a key challenge for electrification.
Electrified mobility products currently available in the market are facing three issues: short range, long charging time and high cost of batteries. In order to contribute to India’s effort to accelerate electrification and expand the use of renewable energy, Honda will work to eliminate these three issues through the use of swappable batteries and by sharing such batteries. To this end, Honda will start a battery sharing service for electric rickshaws, using MPP e: in the first half of 2022.
In consideration of this new business, Honda began demonstration testing in India in February 2021, with 30 units of electric rickshaw taxis driven for a total of more than 200,000 km in operation. Through this testing, Honda identified issues to be addressed and verified business viability.
Honda’s battery sharing service will enable rickshaw drivers to stop by at the nearest battery swapping stations being set up in the city and swap a MPP e: with a low remaining charge for a fully-charged MPP e:. The use of this service will significantly reduce driver concern about running out of batteries as well as the risk of losing business opportunities with customers while waiting for rickshaw batteries to be charged.
To begin this service, Honda will establish a local subsidiary in India to conduct a battery sharing service business. The subsidiary will install a number of Honda Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e: as battery swapping stations and conduct battery sharing service in the city. Honda will work with electric rickshaw manufacturers and begin the service in selected cities first and then expand to other areas in stages.
Comments by Minoru Kato, Chief Officer, Life Creation Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
“Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP) has huge potential to electrify all kinds of devices including small-sized mobility products and expand the use of renewable energy. By offering a battery sharing service in India, Honda will contribute to the accelerated electrification of rickshaws and expanded use of renewable energy. Moreover, Honda will continue serving people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential by further expanding the utilization of the MPP into broader areas.”