The Indian state of Maharashtra has signed a lead-off agreement valued at $2.5bn with electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem players Gogoro and Belrise, with ambitions of building next-generation energy and transport infrastructure across the state in the far west of the country.

Under the memorandum of understanding announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland today (Tuesdary), Gogoro, which specialises in battery-swapping technology and smart-charging stations, and Belrise, India’s largest in-country automotive system manufacturer, plan a 50-50 partnership with an eight-year programme to create a network of e-mobility facilities in the nation’s most populous state.

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis stated: “It is important for the state of Maharashtra to embrace new technologies that are open, accessible and enable dynamic solutions that can accelerate the transition to smarter sustainable cities and set an example that other states in India can follow.

“Deploying the world’s largest and most innovative smart energy infrastructure to utilise battery-swapping for solving the unique and distributed energy challenges we face daily… will enable new alternatives to the fossil fuels solutions many of our residents use today.”

Horace Luke, CEO of Gogoro, said: “The future of smart sustainable cities and countries is not about a single company or government but about a community coming together to instill a new way of thinking and a new way of utilising sustainable energy in an open and accessible way.

“This partnership represents the future and this new way of thinking – not just about sustainable transportation, but about an entirely new system.”

Shrikant Badve, managing director of Belrise, said: "Now is the time for Indian businesses to begin their transition to a new model of sustainable operations. As a manufacturing leader in India's transportation industry, we are embracing this for our own business, customers, and communities."

The companies, in a statement, added: “The deployment is also expected to accelerate job growth throughout the smart energy, EV, and sustainability value chain. In addition to the smart infrastructure, the partnership is also expected to foster EV manufacturing and assembly in the state.”

Roll out of Gogoro’s EV charging stations and battery-swapping bays is slated to start later this year.

Maharashtra, which has over 120 million residents, is India’s largest economy with a gross domestic product of more than $450bn and accounting for 16% of the nation’s industrial output.