RACEnergy, a Hyderabad-based startup, has developed a conversion kit that can be retrofitted into an existing diesel-powered three-wheeler and convert it into an electrical one, using a battery swapping model.
Imagine yourself riding in an electric auto-rickshaw without the noise and vibrations of the engine piercing through your ears. Fortunately, RACEnergy, a Hyderabad-based electrical vehicle (EV) startup, is making kits for auto-rickshaws that would convert them into EVs.
RACEnergy spent over two years developing and testing this kit, which can be retrofitted into an existing IC engine powered three-wheeler. Having spoken to over 2,000 auto-rickshaw drivers in Hyderabad, the startup is on the cusp over delivering a product that can potentially improve the lives of both drivers and passengers.
The conversion kit costs about Rs 50,000. It’s cheap because they operate this on a battery swapping model, which removes the battery out of the price of the vehicle. The driver who converts his vehicle into an EV doesn’t buy the battery upfront, and instead swaps it at a battery-swapping station whenever required and pays for the amount of energy used.
The startup has set up one battery-swapping station in Hyderabad. In the next two or three months, another five such stations are expected to come up. In the past two months since these electric kits were finalised for purchase, they have received over 300 pre-orders. So far, they have converted 10 vehicles. The next few months will be spent fulfilling the pre-orders.
Swapping technology works much better for the commercial segment for two reasons, argues Arun. One, as auto-rickshaw drivers, they have to be on the road as much as possible. They can’t waste time charging their vehicles.
Currently, RACEnergy is working with a couple of OEMs in the three-wheeler space. The goal is to get these OEMs into using their batteries and swapping stations.
Reference: The Better India