Oyika, a Singapore-based developer of battery swapping technology for electric vehicles (EVs), announced on Thursday that it is raising $100 million for its energy-share business in Southeast Asia.
The funds will be spent on the company’s expansion in Vietnam and the rolling out of the company’s battery-swap service for electric motorbikes in Indonesia, where it has an order book of 30,000 power subscription plans. Besides the transportation sector, Oyika also targets off-grid households in rural communities.
Oyika also plans to bid for a contract to build and instal charging stations for electric vehicles in Singapore, which plans to phase out cars that run on petrol by 2040. These plans come on the back of the successful trials of Oyika’s battery-swap service in Cambodia and Indonesia.
E-motorbike users can exchange the battery for a fully-charged one at a nearby swap station once power levels are low. This takes only a minute through Oyika’s mobile app, as compared to the conventional charging of an e-motorbike via a home power outlet that can take up to eight hours.
Oyika works with local e-motorbike manufacturers to integrate their two-wheelers with its batteries and network of swap stations. Oyika claims that its swappable batteries work with most e-motorbike brands and models in SE Asia.
The company has also said that its IoT (Internet of Things)-enabled batteries can be tracked and remotely switched off, making the e-motorbikes theft-proof.
Each ICE motorbike on the road replaced by an e-motorbike saves about one tonne of CO2e a year, equivalent to planting 16.5 trees over 10 years, as reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“Our mission is to lower the barriers to electric vehicle adoption in developing countries. With our subscription plans, the 250 million motorcyclists in Southeast Asia now have the opportunity to switch from their ICE (internal combustion engine) motorbikes to electric models at a lower cost,” said Lee Jinsi, CEO and co-founder of Oyika.
He added that Southeast Asia has the highest density of motorbikes in the world, representing up to 85% of the vehicle population, and less than 0.1% of them are electric.
With Indonesia and Vietnam being the third and fourth largest motorcycle markets globally after India and China, converting just a fraction of motorbikes to electric versions will significantly reduce carbon emissions and help tackle global warming.
Oyika is also innovating another energy-share service in Indonesia, this time in rural communities where it is bringing electricity to households that do not have access to the national grid. Under its plan, getting electricity at home will simply involve placing the battery into an Oyika home docking system and connecting electrical appliances to it.
Oyika was founded in May 2018 by the same group of entrepreneurs, Lee and Carl Wong, who built Postkid, an online education startup in the early 2000s, before selling it to Singapore Mainboard-listed Horizon Education and Technologies.
Lee was previously the head of international markets at Singapore’s largest clean energy provider Sunseap and championed a 10-megawatt solar farm, a first in Cambodia, as well as a 140-megawatt solar farm in India, the largest by a Singapore consortium at the time.
Oyika’s shareholders include two Sunseap co-founders, CEO Frank Phuan, and president Lawrence Wu who invested through Trirec, an investment firm with a focus on renewable energy and clean technology projects.