Hello and welcome to your daily Charge Smart blog! Today, we will be talking about an alternative to recharging your EV batteries.
Above: Fed up with charging your EVs?
The U.S doesn’t seem too keen on this idea but China want to make battery swapping the industry standard. But first, what is battery swapping exactly?!
We all know that one of the main drawbacks of EVs is the charging time right! It can take hours and hours to charge to full if you don’t have access to a fast charger but what if there was a way to get a full battery without charging. Well, that’s exactly what battery swapping is. You head into a dealer or similar and they swap out your depleted batteries for some fully charged new ones. Though, one could understand how swapping would still take a bit of time along with needing more expertise as compared to just plugging in your EV.
China want to create battery swapping stations around the country. They believe that this would enable faster adoption of EVs. Just a reminder that China is already the world’s largest EV market. The government’s idea for these stations is that you pop in, remove your depleted batteries and swap them out with ones that are full charged. They estimate that this will take about the same amount of time as filling up your petrol or diesel car. The same report also looked into the option of selling EVs without the battery which could save owners on cost. Though, you’d have to take your car to the nearest battery swapping station on the back of a tow truck.
Above: Tesla are one of those opposed to battery swapping
China is very clear that they want to continue being a leader in the EV market. They already buy more EVs than any other place in the world and they even have their own local manufacturers who produce their own EVs. To add to that, there are more than 1 million charging points across the country, marking a constant yearly increase of nearly 70% for the number of charging points added every year. That’s pretty mind-boggling stuff. On average, they add about 11,700 chargers per month.
There have been a few start-ups that have gone down the battery swapping path but none have made it this far, the most notable one being an Israeli start-up called Better Place who found their biggest problem to be the fact that various car manufacturers tend to have different standards when it comes to battery layouts in the cars. The batteries were all different shapes and sizes. However, if the Chinese government wants battery swapping then you can be assured that the local manufacturers will join the party and that’s what is required when implementing a technology like this. But, in the European and American markets. Getting all the major manufacturers to march to the same tune of battery swapping isn’t going to be easy, in fact it’s probably not possible that they will all agree on one method to get a full charge for your EV.
Aboe: Nio are one of the companies pushing for battery swapping
Chinese state-owned company, BAIC has already set up around 200 battery swapping stations and EV manufacturer, Nio have also got their own swapping stations. BAIC’S program include a monthly all you can swap package that costs around $90 NZD per month. In the end, the real question is whether you would choose to drive out to a swapping station instead of charging your car in your garage at home.