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EV Startup Presents 2-Minute Battery Swap; Baggage $7 Million Funding

An incident in 2018 brought about Varun Goenka, now the co-founder of Cost-up, to give you the thought for this enterprise.

Making his means in an e-rickshaw by the congested roads of Central Delhi, Varun was in a rush to get to his vacation spot. He had simply moved to the capital for work from Guwahati, his hometown, and was nonetheless getting aware of the various intersecting routes.

The EV unexpectedly got here to a halt, and the driving force defined to Varun that it was a battery subject, which might take some time to repair.

Sadly, Varun realised that he was simply one of many many individuals within the nationwide capital who would both be compelled to change automobiles in the midst of their rides or go for standard gasoline automobiles as an alternative.

Whereas this appeared like a hiccup within the morning routine, it truly pointed to a bigger downside within the EV house.

“When the battery runs out, it causes the driving force to lose out on clients and not directly impacts their ROI,” notes Varun, including that whereas he hitched one other experience and reached his vacation spot, the incident made him analysis this subject in depth.

At this time, Cost-up — spearheaded by Varun together with co-founder Ankur Madan, has enabled “over 2,000 drivers to cowl greater than 40 million zero-emission kilometres”.

The drivers associated with Chargeup say they no longer face range anxiety and earn more in a day
The drivers related to Chargeup say they not face vary nervousness and earn extra in a day, Image credit: Varun Goenka

Fuelled with a want to create change within the EV house

“I found that in India, there are greater than two million e-rickshaw drivers ferrying 60 million commuters every single day,” says Varun.

In a bid to do one thing about it, Varun determined to couple the experience that he had from working within the cleantech house along with his information of finance, and he got here up with an answer — battery swapping. This, he thought, would permit EV rides to occur seamlessly.

So, in 2019, Varun give up his job to dedicate his time to this dream.

In 2021, he was joined by Ankur Madan, whom he met by a mutual pal. The 2 had been united by a typical ideology and began constructing Cost-up into the empire it’s in the present day.

The concept of battery swapping, they are saying, will revolutionise the EV house and scale back the nervousness that comes with drivers not with the ability to say sure to lengthy routes for worry of the battery working out.

The Chargeup station has recharged batteries that drivers can simply swap for their drained ones
The Chargeup station has recharged batteries that drivers can merely swap for his or her drained ones, Image credit: Varun Goenka

How does battery swapping work?

The duo knew that to be able to disrupt the present means of operation within the EV house, they would wish to concentrate to the foundation of the issue — the kind of battery used.

After speaking to EV drivers, they understood that standard lead acid batteries had been notoriously recognized to cease working after eight months, requiring alternative. They typically leaked water into the car and broken the chassis.

As an answer to this, they determined to make use of solely standardised superior lithium batteries which have shorter charging instances, longer life spans and want low upkeep. This could make the battery swap course of hassle-free.

“As soon as a driver subscribes to the swapping plan, they will then drive into the closest Cost-up station when the car battery drains out and change the battery for a completely charged one. There are round 200 battery-swapping stations throughout the Delhi/NCR area. The convenience of the method makes certain that the car can return to the highway inside two minutes,” says Varun.

He provides that the batteries are owned and managed by Cost-up and registered subscribers use them on a pay-per-swap foundation or month-to-month subscription plans.

“This provides them freedom from buying and managing expensive EV batteries. It makes issues much more reasonably priced and worthwhile for e-rickshaw drivers,” provides Ankur.

One of many drivers, Mohammed — a registered driver with the platform, recounts how beforehand he would spend 8 to 10 hours charging his car battery and within the course of lose out on lots of enterprise.

Varun Goenka and Ankur Madan, Co Founders of Chargeup
Varun Goenka and Ankur Madan, co-founders of Chargeup, Image credit: Varun Goenka

Chargeup ke sath most important two-minute mein battery dalwa leta hu or meri kamai dugni hogayi hai (With Cost-up I get a battery swapped inside two minutes and so, my earnings has doubled),” he says.

The duo add that not solely is the battery swapping nice for the drivers but additionally for the planet at massive. “By means of this, we’re saving 3000 tonnes of CO2 emissions,” notes Varun.

The highway forward

Whereas growing EV adoption by its providers, Cost-up needs to simplify the lives of drivers with its alerts and routing help, whereas boosting their productiveness. Actually, they are saying battery swapping has contributed to an “80 per cent enhance within the drivers’ earnings”.

The corporate not too long ago raised $7 million in funds, which they are saying can be infused into “increasing the providers to twenty new cities and to energy 50,000+ drivers”.

“We’re on a mission to energy a million drivers by 2027,” says Ankur.

Longer ride times, more ROI and reduced battery maintenance is what drivers have experienced with the lithium-ion batteries
Longer experience instances, extra ROI and decreased battery upkeep is what drivers have skilled with the lithium-ion batteries, Image credit: Varun Goenka

Nonetheless, he provides that the journey hasn’t been with out challenges.

“The enterprise was the primary to penetrate the e-rickshaw market at a time when there was no priority for battery know-how, enterprise mannequin, or pricing technique. There was additionally an absence of standardisation in battery know-how. As batteries are dumb in nature, Cost-up constructed its mannequin round offering a protected and dependable experience to the drivers,” he says.

The drivers related to the startup too are thrilled with this modern facility.

Paani wali battery se paisa bachana bahut mushkil hojata tha. Chargeup ke sath most important din ke Rs 1,500 kamata hu or saath most important padhai bhi kar pata hoon (It was getting robust saving cash whereas utilizing the same old batteries. However with the battery swapping course of, I earn Rs 1,500 a day and I’m in a position to examine concurrently),” says Puncham.

One other driver Jeetendar recounts how the battery he would use would typically get spoilt inside six months. “With the Cost-up batteries, my velocity has elevated and I’m not in debt,” he says.

The duo are assured that with time the EV house will develop within the nation, and they’re additionally constructive that battery swapping will speed up this.

Edited by Pranita Bhat



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