Three-wheelers are the linchpin of the Indian transport system, offering affordable and accessible transportation to Indian commuters. In fact, India is home to about 1.5million battery-powered, three-wheeled rickshaws. As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month, and annual sales are expected to increase about 9 percent by 2021. Some of the great benefits of e-rickshaws are that are quieter, faster, cleaner and cheaper to maintain than a traditional auto rickshaw.
But, for e-rickshaws to succeed, a robust and convenient battery charging and/or swapping infrastructure must be established. Swapping stations have the following advantages over charging stations:
- Since batteries are leased, they can reduce the cost of rickshaws
- Can reduce the impact on grids by charging during off-peak hours
- Usually swapping batteries is faster than charging batteries
However, to take advantage of these attractive properties, the following must be ensured:
- Reliability of leased/rented battery packs
- Optimally positioned and operated battery swapping stations
- A business and operating model that is beneficial to all the stake holders
rickshaw owners, station operators, infrastructure provider, electricity distribution companies and the community at large
- Standardized battery packs that can be swapped in and out of vehicles from different manufacturers
- Furthermore, there must be a reliable battery recycling infrastructure
To address this requirement, we propose Joulebi, a comprehensive solution that incorporates the following components so widespread adoption of e-rickshaws can be facilitated. The components of Joulebi are:
- A tool for computing the optimal placement of swapping stations
- A system to track the location of batteries while installed in vehicles or in charging vehicles
- A battery monitoring system to keep a watch on the health of batteries
- A station monitoring system to ensure the health, efficiency of chargers and also the number of batteries that have been charged and distributed from specific stations
- A scheduling system so the batteries can be charged at optimal charging rates (for e.g., C/20) using the lowest electricity tariff without overloading the distribution network
- A battery reservation system so rickshaw drivers can go to the nearest possible station that has charged batteries available for swapping
- Driver ID management system
- Battery tracking and recycle management
DataGlen team has substantial experience in relevant technologies
IoT, Machine Learning, Distributed Energy Systems such as solar and storage
that enable data-driven energy systems. In fact, the founding team holds 15 US patents and has published more than 40 papers in top research venues.DataGlen has also developed a robust and reliable IoT distributed energy systems management solution (cloud and embedded) that is processing about 25 million time series data points a day. This platform is being used to manage more than 400 solar plants in India, Dubai, Kenya, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Spain.
Based on our experience and our solution, we can develop a digital infrastructure that can make e-Rickshaws economical and environment-friendly.
In the future, the system can be expanded to include a market place where anyone can charge and offer those batteries for swapping in. Even more interestingly, charged batteries can be bartered for rides. Further, if the grid supports integration of distributed storage, as explained by the report from Rocky Mountain Institute, stations can export energy from batteries into grids during peak hours and earn revenue.