Honda batteries to power e-rickshaws in India


Japan’s Honda Motor Co. has announced plans to begin a battery sharing service for electric rickshaws in India, in the first half of 2022, using its all-new portable and swappable batteries christened ‘Honda Mobile Power Pack e:’.

  • Honda says increasing energy demand worsening air pollution

  • To introduce battery swapping tech for autorickshaws

  • Its MPP e: can also be used as a power source for compatible devices

The company says as the economy continues to grow in India, the increasing energy demand is leading to worsening air pollution. To address these issues, country-wide efforts are being made to expand utilisation of renewable energy and actively pursue electrification of the transportation sector, which accounts for approximately 20 percent of India’s greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 80 lakh autorickshaws cater to daily transportation needs of people in India.

In urban areas, autorickshaws are powered mainly by CNG (compressed natural gas) and have been a key challenge to electrification. Honda Motor Co. says electrified mobility products currently available in the market are facing three issues: short range, long charging time and high cost of batteries. In order to contribute to India’s effort to accelerate electrification and expand the use of renewable energy, Honda will work to eliminate these three issues through the use of swappable batteries and sharing such batteries. 

To this end, the Japanese major will start a battery sharing service for electric autorickshaws, using Honda Mobile Power Pack e: (MPP e:) in the first half of 2022. An MPP e: is a portable and swappable lithium-ion battery with a capacity of over 1.3kWh.

In February, Honda had begun demonstration testing in India, with 30 electric autorickshaws driven for over 2,00,000km. Through this testing, Honda has identified issues to be addressed and verified business viability.

The company says its battery sharing service will enable autorickshaw drivers to stop by the nearest battery swapping stations and swap an empty MPP e: for a fully charged one. The use of this service will significantly reduce driver concern about running out of batteries as well as the risk of losing business opportunities with customers while waiting for batteries to be charged.

To begin this service, Honda will establish a local subsidiary in India to conduct a battery sharing service business. The subsidiary will install a number of Honda Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e: as battery swapping stations and aid battery sharing. Honda will work with electric autorickshaw manufacturers and begin the service in select cities initially before expanding.

Minoru Kato, chief officer Life Creation Operations, Honda Motor said, “Honda 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. Moreover, Honda will continue serving people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential by further expanding the utilisation of the MPP into broader areas.”

Key features

High versatility: In addition to mobility products, MPP e: can be utilised as a power source for a broad range of compatible devices.

High durability: By considering heat dissipation during continuous discharging, deterioration due to high temperature is prevented, and sufficient water resistance, vibration resistance and shock resistance are ensured under normal operating conditions.

Data utilisation: The built-in control unit recognises the conditions of the MPP e: and records the occurrence of all events. This data will be collected through the connector while MPP e: is charging and then utilised for the battery sharing operation and other secondary uses.

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