Arun Sreyas and Gautam Maheswaran are founders of RACEnergy, a Hyderabad-based start-up creating waves in the battery swapping electric infra ecosystem. It is known that the government of India is pushing forth the idea of replacing fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles. The union minister for road transport and highways, Nitish Gadkari, had said that 80% of two-wheelers and 30% of private vehicles will be electric by 2030.
In a country that is price sensitive to the extent that many do not buy automatic cars as they are a lakh or two more expensive than regular cars, battery swapping would be an ideal solution, say the founders of RACEnergy. Seeing the future and how things are shaping up, the duo, in partnership with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), recently inaugurated its first battery swapping station at HITEC City in January. In addition, three battery swap stations are being set up at various HPCL outlets at prime locations in the city in January.
While the usual electric vehicles take time to get charged – one hour is the norm – battery swapping helps the vehicle owner to simply drive into a swap station and replace the battery with a new battery which is time-saving. It’s a matter of two minutes, says Arun Sreyas.RACEnergy is also providing retrofit kits that convert existing ICE autorickshaws into electric vehicles that will be compatible with the swapping network. By combining both technologies, the new-age firm can provide a similar experience of refueling ICE or internal combustion engine vehicles, but at 50% of the operating cost and with minimal upfront charges.
The company intends to build a network of 500 battery swap stations across India by mid-2023, and 100 will be in Hyderabad. Arun Sreyas feels that autorickshaws and cabs will be key to the success of the battery swapping market as time and cost of the product is key here.
RACEnergy has raised a seed+ round of $1.3 million led by Micello Fund and growX ventures, along with investments from Huddle, Prophetic Ventures, and BITSian Angels, among others.