IGL to foray into battery swapping in tie-up with Mahindra Powerol
According to A K Jana, managing director, IGL, the company through this tie-up would be scaling up to 100 EV charging stations within a year
Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL), the country’s leading city gas distributor, is tying up with Mahindra Powerol to offer electric vehicle (EV) battery swapping facility at its retail outlets in the National Capital Region (NCR). Though the companies are still in discussions, with this foray, IGL would be branching out to the EV infrastructure business apart from its core business of retailing natural gas.
According to A K Jana, managing director, IGL, the company through this tie-up would be scaling up to 100 EV charging stations within a year. Though IGL had plans to put up such stations across its network with every new IGL outlet having at least one EV charging point, the plan could not take off earlier.
Mahindra Powerol, part of the Anand Mahindra Group, is into the business of providing power solutions, including diesel gensets, and offers operation and maintenance services.
“We are still working on the details of the tie-up,” another IGL executive said.
One of the major challenges that the battery swapping business is facing is lack of standardisation, said the executive quoted above, adding: “If the Bureau of Indian Standards comes up with specifications for batteries, swapping would pick up. One of the ways is to have modules in car batteries, which means whenever swapping is required, a discharged module can be exchanged for a fully charged one.” This would ensure that users do not waste time at charging stations for revving up their cars.
Mahindra Powerol caters to industrial engine needs of construction, firefighting pumps, auxiliary power, and marine sectors. IGL’s 1,990 CNG stations could provide a good physical network for Mahindra.
Mahindra along with Tata Motors in 2017 had won the first tender from Energy Efficiency Services to supply 10,000 EVs for senior government officials. However, a number of these vehicles could not be put to use because of low range.
EESL has procured around 1,547 EVs of which 692 are from Tata Motors, 832 from Mahindra, 10 are Hyundai Kona, and 10 are MG Motor’s ZS 5.
Mahindra had gone on record to criticise Tata Motors for bidding too low for the first contract. Subsequently, it did not get any order in the second contract finalised last month. The company, however, is one of the fastest growing in the EV space, especially in the NCR.
IGL, a joint venture of GAIL (India), Bharat Petroleum, and the Delhi government, is increasing its base in the industrial and commercial segments in areas beyond the NCR. At present, it has 5.9 million piped natural gas (PNG) connections and 1,989 CNG stations across the country. It has rights to 11 geographical regions for retailing of natural gas, of which seven are outside NCR.