Gurugram-based Battery Smart has revealed its plan to expand its business to 25 cities across India by the end of 2023.
The company which started out from Delhi only two-and-a-half years ago and has already scaled to over 200 swap stations in the national capital, is leveraging the existing infrastructure to expand its swapping network.
“We are leveraging the existing infrastructure and can now open 3-4 stations every day. We operate a very dense network of swapping stations and already have more than 200 swap stations in the national capital itself. We leverage this network to attract more first-time users,” said Pulkit Khurana, co-founder of the company.
The company is primarily targeting the low-speed e-rickshaws that fall in the ‘L3’ electric vehicle category alongside the low- to mid-speed e-two-wheelers such as those from brands including Hero Electric, Okinawa, and Ampere, and are the most-preferred vehicles by last-mile e-commerce delivery and logistics players.
In the e-rickshaw space, despite the segment being fragmented due to the presence of numerous small OEMs introducing their lead-acid-battery-based products in the market, “That is where the opportunity lies for us as the lead-acid battery requires a replacement every six months, and we want to switch customers to lithium-ion by offering our cost-effective swappable solution,” Khurana added.
The company works with various battery suppliers such as Livguard to source its 2kWh-capacity lithium-ion battery packs for e-rickshaw and e-2W applications and says it is currently placing more orders for these batteries than what can be supplied by its vendors.
“We are presently buying more than 10,000 battery packs every month and we have a waitlist of around 45,000 battery packs right now,” Khurana said.
The company is planning to recycle and repurpose end-of-life batteries by putting them into storage applications and expects a lifespan of about 4-5 years on every battery.
“Other than Delhi-NCR, we are now in Lucknow, Jaipur, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Meerut, Kanpur, and we are launching in more cities every month. Our plan is to reach 25 cities, most in the northern part of the country – between Rajasthan and Kolkata – by March 2023. These are the cities which have a very large e-rickshaw population,” said Khurana.
“In the next financial year (FY2024), we have planned to invest close to Rs 1,000 crore worth of assets (batteries). Even today, our asset investment stands at over Rs 150 crore,” he said.
The company has raised US$ 30 million in funding with the last round in June 2022 seeing a successful fund raise of US$ 25 million from Tiger Global. “We still have most of the money from the last round in the bank and we are not using this capital for expansion, for which we are relying on a lot of lending partners and NBFCs to finance these assets. The equity capital is being invested in technology and people to improve the efficiency of our operations,” Khurana signed off.