Bounce Infinity, a recent entrant in the electric two-wheeler segment, could disrupt the E2W segment with its latest E1 model that offers the battery swapping option.
While the regular version of the vehicle features a 2 kWh battery that can be purchased with the scooter and recharged using a standard 5 amp socket, buyers can alternatively opt for a battery subscription model that allows them to swap a depleted battery at a nearby swapping station.
The variant sans battery will be around Rs 36,000 cheaper as compared to the battery-equipped model.
How the battery swapping model works?
Buyers opting for the battery swapping model would be required to swap their batteries after it gets drained out. According to Bounce, its app will allow the rider to detect the nearest swapping station, along with the charge in the station’s batteries.
Based on the distance and the time it would take for the rider to reach the station, the app allows the option of booking a battery. This will ensure that a rider does not reach a battery station only to find it empty.
At present, each station can store two to nine batteries, with each depleted battery requiring two hours to be fully charged after being docked into the station.
Bounce says it will partner up with, in its own parlance, 'mom-and-pop stores' and general stores that have been earmarked by the brand to serve as hotspots where a battery swapping module can be placed. All charging stations will remain functional 24x7, it added.
The cost involved
Bounce offers a monthly battery subscription plan for Rs 849, with a per swap price of Rs 35. According to the brand, this brings down the per kilometre cost of running down to Rs 0.65 – a figure that will have infinite appeal for consumers who are tired of exorbitant fuel costs.
For consumers who opt to buy the scooter with a removable battery and charger, sans subscription, the scooter can cost anywhere between Rs 56,999 to Rs 79,999 depending on the subsidies offered by the state it’s registered in.
In totality, Bounce Infinity is aiming for 2,000 swapping stations in each major city, although it has not mentioned which cities qualify as major ones. Sales will continue to be done via a dealership model with 25 dealerships which will be set up across 10 cities.
'A swapping station per km'
With the aim of establishing a swapping station per km within the radius of every city it operates in, Bounce is looking at an all-encompassing, pan-India network of swapping stations whose capital costs are much lower than a wide range of charging stations, but ease of use is much greater.
In its first phase which includes cities like Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Mumbai, Bounce aims to set up 150-200 swapping stations, which include automated ones at select petrol stations and manually operated ones found outside grocery/department stores.
Out of the 200 stations, roughly 120 will be manually operated, requiring the rider to take the battery out and place it into an open slot, while inserting a fully charged battery into the scooter, all done within seconds.Given its price point, Bounce Infinity will go up against Hero Electric, which continues to dominate the e-scooter space with a 36 percent market share. This means Bounce Infinity would have to use the efficacy of its subscription and swapping model, to get ahead in an increasingly crowded space. With over 1 million swaps under its belt, the brand is off to a promising start.