Swobbee is next in India’s emerging battery exchange market

Germany’s Swobbee is moving into the Indian market by partnering with Motovolt Mobility—the local business plans to establish 200 battery-swapping stations by 2025. As Gogoro already does, Motovolt and Swobbee will focus on business clients first.

Image: Swobbee

A quick swap to Europe, Swobbee’s home market. The company is based in Berlin and entertains clients like Total Energies and Volkswagen. Unlike Taiwan’s Gogoro, Swobbee stations can cater to a range of two-wheelers, not “just” electric scooters, and can hold different battery sizes.

Says Thomas Duscha, CEO and co-founder of Swobbee: “Gogoro’s is a highly vertically integrated model with e-mopeds, but as we know, the e-moped will never be the number one transport mode in Europe, so we believe in small mobility like e-bikes, cargo bikes and kick scooters.”

At the same time, the company admits having been inspired by Gogoro, which has created a de facto standard for exchangeable batteries for electric mopeds in Taiwan and is reportedly expanding in India.

The LEV market on the subcontinent is vast, with electric two-wheeler sales totalling 1.56 million last year. These vehicles are widely used in delivery and transport services. “Small businesses, delivery services, cabs – they all rely on two- and three-wheelers, which are on the roads by the millions,” adds Duscha.

And this is where Motovolt comes in. The company says it will expand its reach into the e-scooter segment in the coming months.

Speaking of the collaboration, the partners expect to invest a seven-digit dollar sum but also to generate over ten million dollars in revenue and achieve profitability within five years. Revenue may also be gained through advertising since Swobbee stations hold large displays.

“Swobbee’s battery swapping services offer a unique proposition wherein our customers can subscribe to a swapping solutions provider,” said Motovolt founder Tushar Choudhary. He adds this would free drivers from stemming battery costs upfront and ensure better battery life, including disposal. “Additionally, Swobbee will gain access to our product portfolio and customer base, enabling them to build a nationwide intelligent and multi-manufacturer battery swapping network,” he said.

For now, the project will start with Motovolt’s commercial customers in Delhi and Kolkata. The companies say the collaboration aims to onboard other OEMs and establish a comprehensive battery-swapping network for various vehicle makes and types across India. Swobbee adds that its stations will gradually become available to private customers.

As hinted at before, the strategy is similar to Gogoro’s, apart from being open to LEVs of many builds. In contrast, Gogoro launched a new scooter designed for Indian requirements last week. It is also rolling out battery swapping stations for commercial customers first. They are currently opening in Delhi and Goa, with Mumbai and Pune to follow in the first half of 2024 and consumer availability in the second quarter of 2024.

Swobbee claims to be present in eleven European countries and runs a pilot project in Indonesia. It is also a part of the Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) alongside players like Honda, Piaggio, Yamaha, and the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA-EU), featuring members such as Mahle, Dott, Van Moof, and Segway.

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