By Brenda Goh
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - India's Maharashtra state on Tuesday signed a deal with Taiwan's Gogoro and automotive system maker Belrise Industries under which the two firms will invest $2.5 billion over eight years in building battery-swapping infrastructure across the state.
Announced on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the partners said the memorandum of understanding aimed to establish batteries as a leading source for mobility and energy storage in Maharashtra, India's wealthiest state with 120 million residents which is looking to reduce its use of fossil fuels.
Shares in Gogoro Inc rose 7.1% after the deal was announced. The companies will start deploying the infrastructure this year and hope that it will encourage energy vehicle use as well as help to reduce energy costs for farmers.
"Maharashtra state is looking for a platform in which converting to green has many different devices, mobility device, storage device, smart city devices; what we're working on is more like a platform enabling this to happen," Gogoro Chief Executive Horace Luke told Reuters, describing the deal as "huge" for the Taiwanese firm.
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra's deputy chief minister, said the state hoped they would set an example for other states in India to transition to smarter sustainable cities.
Gogoro is known for its green-hued battery swap distribution network for riders in Taiwan and makes its own vehicles as well as batteries. It told Reuters in November that it hoped to diversify internationally.
India's Belrise Industries Ltd, previously known as Badve Engineering, produces about one third of all two-wheel and three-wheel chassis made in the country.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh)