Despite the pandemic, there is no short of EV launches, startups getting funded, new directions being announced etc.
In India, we can almost buy a ticket and get the pop-corn ready to watch the competition amongst Ola, Ather, Bajaj, Hero etc. We’re talking about 2 wheeers here, yup that’s right. The Fame 2 scheme has been ‘extended’ and much of India has benefitted we believe, to experience these new low carbon mobility products. Some go as far as to offer Charging-As-A-Service and offer EV Charging Station dealerships etc.
At Legatus EV, we observe all the global movements and at the end of the road (after exhausting all the pop-corn etc), will reach a fork where we have decided long ago, which way to turn. In our humble opinion, there are basically, technically two factions or groups which hopes to achieve critical mass adoption (CMA) of EVs. Either go for Charging Stations or B-A-A-S (Battery Swaps).
Closer to home, there’s one group opting to invest in B-A-A-S, and deploy it in Cambodia, in co-operation with a Malaysian (electric) bike exporter. We note that this (electric) bike exporter does not do business i.e. sell their bikes in Malaysia, but rather ‘exports’ them directly to Cambodia. Perhaps and most probably it’s all about the rather high ‘standards’ which we have here, which makes it challenging to do so.
Coming back to the B-A-A-S story, we gather most of the world has subscribed to this model, in order to build (2 wheeler) EV ‘infrastructure’. Imagine, in the words of one famous brand, it can be done in ‘less than 60 seconds’ and you’re good to go (for another 60-80km). The main proponent of this B-A-A-S solution has rolled out an extensive 3000+ stations on their island state, with funding from their government via gas stations etc and also investors which included Singapore’s Temasek and Panasonic etc. From 2015, until about today, around 3000+ swapping stations. News has it that many other brands like Yamaha, Hero, Suzuki etc have hopped on the B-A-A-S wagon, in order to cater to their desired 2 wheeler EV markets. We have been reliably informed that a ‘big brand’ may be investing in B-A-A-S here in this country, but still, doesn’t rattle our confidence as we go the OTHER direction.
Not difficult to figure out why. In fact, Ola (India, funded by Sumitomo etc) and Ather (supported by Hero Motocorp) shares our thinking. Ola promises over 100k chargers in 400 cities whilst Ather has done about 300 chargers since 2018. Numbers don’t lie.
Our modest plan is just 100 stations to start with, to start the ball rolling. We’re no ‘big brand’, just ‘own backyard EV solution’. No grants, no VCs etc, just getting about our business as we believe in what we do. Time after time we will question ourselves, are we going the right direction? No doubt about it.