Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


Electric Cars and Battery Swapping Stations (BSS)

Dt:  4/9/23

Electric Cars and  Battery Swapping Stations (BSS)

Dr T.H.Chowdary*


In the year 2006 at the  World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) Shimon  Peres  former Prime Minister & President of Israel and a Nobel Peace Prize winner presented  Shai Agassi,  an Executive of SAP  the largest enterprise software company  at the Young  Scientist Conference . Agassi  in his 30s was bristling  with the idea of taking the  country like Israel off oil. Automobiles are the  largest consumers of oil.  His dream was to take Israel  off oil  which is the  petrol dollar earner  for Arab countries some of which were nurturing  jihadi terrorists. Israel was surrounded by Arab countries swearing to destroy that small  state.  Shimon Peres two times Prime Minister and one time President and a Nobel Peace Prize winner ( 1994) was the  patron to present  Agassi’s ideas of electric  cars to the world’s  largest automobile  manufacturers -  General Motors , Ford, Chrysler   and  two others.  All those  dismissed  an electric car  as  non- starter  as it would cost very high.  But  the CEO of  Renault -Nissan , Carols  Ghosn  who was electrified with the  idea  of an oil-less  said it would be  possible. 

2. Agassi’s idea was simple.  The  battery driven electric cars are very costly because of the  cost of the  battery which is about 40-45% of the   cars sales price.  Remove the battery and sell the cars , battery shall be owned by another company.  Just as  petrol and diesel are  marketed  by several oil companies, oil/gas run  automobile users  go to  gas filling station  and pay for the gas. Agassi’s idea is  battery companies will  market the   battery  for the  electric vehicles EV users. We go to  battery swapping stations  replace the exhausted battery  by  a fully charged battery.  It is  just like filling a car with petrol or diesel.

3. Instead of petrol/diesel filling stations  we have  battery swapping stations where fully charged  batteries are  available  to replace the batteries discharged in the  vehicle that comes  for swapping.  The battery companies build the battery swapping stations where  number of batteries are on charge  from the electric power grid . The cost of the  batteries is recovered  from the  charge  of   a fully charged  battery  replacing the discharged  battery for a price. It is  from this  price that  the battery charging  stations recover the cost of the batteries .


4. Engineers and scientists are looking for batteries that store the largest amount of electrical energy in the  least of space and weight.  The lead acid batteries are not  suitable for  electrical vehicles because their energy  storage  density is little.  So there is  search  for batteries which store the highest  amount of  electrical energy in the least space and weight.  Lithium, Sodium and Hydrogen  are the  fuels that are being  developed for the  high density  storage  batteries  required for electrical vehicles .  Hybrid cars which can run both on  battery as well as petrol are  characterized as, “route to nowhere”. The hydrogen fuel cars  are  characterized as “ forever  be 10 years away”.


5. Agassi in Israel founded a company  Better Place” and raised $ 200 billion  to  produce  the EV batteries and build up a country-wide charging  cum battery swapping network . Lo! We have  Israel where  cars are running not on petrol or diesel but on electricity through the network of  charging / battery swapping stations  instead of petrol or diesel filling stations.


6. I gave this idea to Amar Raja Batteries  in the year 2010 (!). They were quiet for some time but recently they embarked upon  a Rs. 7,500 cr  Lithium battery making  factory  in a village in Palamuru ( Mahbubnagar) district in Telangana. Now in Hyderabad battery charging stations are being  built up by the  a state-owned  company. The correct solution is not that but competing high energy density  batteries (lithium/sodium/Hydrogen) companies and their battery swapping stations, where they swap discharged batteries of EVs with fully charged batteries, stored by them,  ( just as they  store petrol/diesel).  Co-operation between the State and the  new pioneering companies  is essential for Bharat to go off- oil  for its automobiles. Bharat imports  84% of  oil and 45%  of natural  gas . Much of it can be saved  by electrical vehicles. Today an electrical  vehicle with the   battery  as part of it  is priced at about Rs. 45 lakhs . It appears that the cost of the  battery is  about 40% of the car.  If a grid or grids of battery  swapping stations is / are established by EV battery companies , EVs can be had at the same prices as oil using automobiles.  


7. Besides Amar Raja Batteries, two or three companies and  some research organizations are engaged in facilitating Bharat’s switch of its  automobiles from patrol/diesel to  electric traction.  The business model should be battery swapping stations  in place petrol/diesel filling stations and  EV cars designed for dropping and  receiving  high  energy density  batteries.  (784 words)