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Blog Post 10 November 2021

How a swappable battery is improving accessibility to electric vehicles

On Wednesday 10 November, discussions at COP26 are expected to kickstart the mass market for zero emission vehicles – a transition that needs to be significantly accelerated to keep global temperature rises within the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.

In a headline event on the day, leaders will come together to show their commitment to a zero-emission road transport future, having all committed to 100% zero emission vehicle sales by 2040, or earlier.

While the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) will require ambition from developed nations like the UK, for those living in the Global South without access to a reliable electricity grid, the challenge is even greater. This is where Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund awardee Powerhive can help with its R&D project.

Improving the use of mini grids

Powerhive will develop a swappable battery pack called the ‘Jerr-e-Can’, which can help improve the use of existing mini grids. The project will create an hourly rental service for electric ‘boda bodas’ and three-wheeled vehicles. The vehicles will be powered by a swappable Jerre-can, a 72V, energy efficient battery that can be charged by mini grids or solar home systems.

By using Jerr-e-cans, Powerhive is helping to make electric vehicles in Kenya cleaner and more economically viable. The project aims to make 20% of female customers drivers, as the vehicles can help women transport water over long distances, which is a time-consuming, daily task.

An app for rural communities

Powerhive will also develop an app, which will enable rural communities to buy excess electricity from the grid when prices are low. Ultimately, using the battery and app can help encourage the use of more efficient mini grids, which will benefit everyone.

The app can also help to make appliances more accessible to off-grid communities. For example, it can help rural farmers purchase cheaper electricity to power solar water pumps. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Powerhive has seen an increase in demand for vital services such as cooking, electricity and mobility. To meet this demand, the company decided to expand the app to include other appliances such as cookstoves.

Watch the video below to find out more about Powerhive’s work to develop resilient energy infrastructure for off-grid communities in Africa.

Head to our Climate talk at COP26 hub to keep up to date with the latest news and announcements from the climate conference.

Last updated: 9 November 2021