Electrification efforts around the world go beyond passenger cars and commercial vehicles. India, for example, has more than 8 million auto rickshaws (also known as tuk-tuks in southeast Asia) on its streets, and this essential means of daily transportation is currently responsible for a lot of air pollution.
This problem can be solved by electrification as electric tricycles are much cleaner alternatives to the rickshaws powered mainly by CNG (compressed natural gas) in India’s urban areas.
To support the use of electric tricycles, Honda today announced plans to begin a battery sharing service in India for these vehicles using the Honda Mobile Power Pack e: (MPP e:), the company’s all-new portable and swappable lithium-ion battery capable of storing more than 1.3 kWh of energy.
Why the need for a battery sharing service? Well, Honda identified three issues with the electrified mobility products currently available in the Indian market: short range, long charging time, and high cost of batteries.
Gallery: Honda Mobile Power Pack e: Batteries For India's Electric Rickshaws
The Japanese company will work to eliminate all these problems by using swappable batteries that can be shared. Following a successful test trial started in February 2021 that saw 30 electric tricycle taxis cover more than 200,000 km (124,000 miles), the battery sharing service will begin in the first half of 2022.
This service will enable electric rickshaw drivers to stop by at the nearest battery swapping stations being set up in their city and swap an MPP e: battery with a low remaining charge for a fully-charged one.
Honda says this will significantly reduce driver concern about running out of batteries and the risk of losing business opportunities with customers while waiting for rickshaw batteries to be charged.
A newly set up Honda subsidiary will conduct the battery sharing service business and will install a number of Honda Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e: battery swapping stations. The Japanese company will work with electric rickshaw manufacturers and begin the service in selected cities first and then expand to other areas.
“Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP) has huge potential to electrify all kinds of devices including small-sized mobility products and expand the use of renewable energy. By offering a battery sharing service in India, Honda will contribute to the accelerated electrification of rickshaws and expanded use of renewable energy.”
Minoru Kato, Chief Officer, Life Creation Operations, Honda Motor Co
Honda Mobile Power Pack e: specifications
- External dimensions (mm): Approx. 298×177.3×156.3
- Battery type: Lithium-ion battery
- Rated voltage: Approx. 50.26V
- Rated capacity: 26.1Ah/1314Wh
- Weight: 10.3kg
- Charging time: Approx. 5 hours
- Country of production: India (MPP e: for the battery sharing service in India)