The startup on a mission to electrify Indonesia’s 125 million motorcycles

July 11, 2023

Battery life is a crucial pain point for EV users. SWAP Energi aims to solve this by building a network of battery swapping stations for e-motorcycle riders. New Energy Nexus introduced SWAP to potential investors, helped prepare funding documents, and offered business acceleration program support. The startup now has more than 800 swap charging stations in 14 provinces.

We spoke to the team at SWAP Energi about their mission to electrify Indonesia’s booming two-wheeler market.

“Lots of prospective users are curious. Our duty is to explain to them so they will be interested,” said Irwan Tjahaja, CEO at Swap Energi Indonesia. So far, SWAP Energi Indonesia has been educating people about electric vehicles and “Swap Stations” by collaborating with their users, and making them a brand ambassador.

Potential users have many questions: is this vehicle strong enough and can it match gasoline fueled vehicles in terms of cruising range? Also, how cheap are the spare parts and maintenance?

Irwan Tjahaja, CEO at Swap Energi Indonesia

Irwan Tjahaja, CEO at Swap Energi Indonesia

In 2021, the startup launched its electric motorcycle brand Smoot. A year later, Swap Energy and Smoot partnered with Grab and state-owned electric company PLN to develop an integrated EV ecosystem in Indonesia.

“Every Smoot motorcycle user is a brand ambassador,” said Keving Phang, CPO of Swap Energi Indonesia. Kevin believes when a user is satisfied with the product and finds it convenient, they will share their experience with their family and friends, and even form a community that can raise awareness of EVs with their immediate community.

Later on, SWAP Energi Indonesia began focusing on the development of the Swap Energi app, making it more sophisticated and user-friendly.

“A key feature of the app is the ability to find the nearest Swap Station, integrated with Google maps, and track your battery reservation , find parking, analyze the machine’s health, and receive a notification for service or change spare parts,” Kevin said.

These convenient features have been noticed by users.

SWAP Energi Indonesia

“SWAP Energi app is easy, everything is there. There is no more coming and finding out that the station has run out of battery,” said Ongko, one of the users of electric motorbike Tempur from Smoot Motor Indonesia.

As an office worker, he admits that electric motorbikes make his life easier.

“I don’t need a charging station at home. It is like you go to the gas station but with an electric motorbike and the app makes it more efficient as I don’t have to wait in line.”

Andi, an online taxi driver has the same experience. “I changed to an electric motorbike because it is environmentally friendly and cheaper. I don’t have to pay for routine services such as getting an oil change.

An online taxi driver such as  him covers a lot of ground: “It could be tens of kilometers each day.”.

However, this isn’t a problem because there are more than 350 points in Jabodetabek (an area of Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. He no longer worries about running out of battery while carrying passengers. SWAP Energi Indonesia also provides a special price for battery exchange for online taxi drivers, which is IDR 17,000 (US$1.14)/100 km. This price is twice as cheap as petrol fuel.

Since 2019, New Energy Nexus Indonesia in collaboration with IKEA Foundation acts as a bridge between different sectors and stakeholders, running incubation, acceleration, and funding programs to urgently develop the clean energy startup ecosystem. Find out more.