• Kyodo


Honda Motor Co. will start a battery sharing service for electric tricycle taxis in India in the first half of 2022 as the world's third-largest carbon dioxide emitter steps up efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.

The Japanese automaker will set up battery stations for tricycle taxis, or so-called rickshaws, using Honda's new portable lithium-ion batteries, enabling drivers to swap their low batteries for fully charged ones.

About 8 million rickshaws are used in India and are important means of daily transportation. Many rickshaws in urban areas are powered by compressed natural gas, which emits less CO2 than gasoline and diesel fuel. However, an electric battery does not generate any emissions.

Honda will use its latest Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e:, which allows the rickshaws to travel 1.2 times longer on a single charge compared to the previous model.

"We hope to expand the use of swappable batteries and contribute to decarbonizing the society," Minoru Kato, chief officer of life creation operations, said in a press conference in Tokyo in late October.

The move comes as India actively promotes the electrification of its transportation sector, responsible for 20 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the country, Honda said, as the nation tries to cope with worsening air pollution exacerbated by economic development and growing energy demand.

During a key U.N. climate summit known as COP26 held early this month in Scotland, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he is aiming for 2070 as a target for his country to reach net zero emissions, making such a commitment for the first time.

In February, Honda began testing the service in India and will establish a local subsidiary by the end of this year to operate the new business. It will work with electric rickshaw makers and launch the service in selected cities first and later expand to other areas.

The automaker also aims to charge the portable batteries with renewable energy, such as by storing excess electricity generated by solar power in the daytime.

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