Swapping Batteries, The Future Of EVs?

Swapping Batteries, The Future Of EVs?

Swapping batteries on EVs, as silly as that might sound to some, there is some truth that it may be viable in the upcoming years. EVs or electric vehicles are great, they allow us to travel distances and at the same time allow us to be harmless towards the Earth.

But, one of the main problems revolving around EVs is charging. For that issue, another solution is battery swapping. In this article, we will be looking at the ins and outs of doing such a task.

What Are Swapping Batteries?

As the name of the process might suggest, it involves swapping the battery which is empty or out of charge with a fully charged one. As crazy as this plan might sound, it is possible given the right conditions.

EV Charging Swapping Batteries

The batteries that are installed into EVs are bulky, and at the same time, they are placed at the center so that there is an even distribution of weight. As they are underneath the cabin of the vehicle, it is possible that they can be swapped out with a fully charged one.

What Are The Advantages of Swapping Batteries?

If we were to consider advantages based on an idea, it will have to be unbiased. Meaning that if we were going to compare an ideal thing with something, the thing that is being compared must also be ideal. So in this scenario, we must look at an ideal battery swapping process to an ideal charging station.

In an ideal battery swapping system, people will have to drive up into a battery swapping place and within the comfort of their cars will have to wait for a few minutes, from 1 to 5 minutes to get their battery swapped by a machine. Then, they will be able to drive off.

An EV charging station by a parking lot.

In an ideal charging station, a person can drive up to a charging station. Get out, charge their cars, during that time, they can head over to a shop where they can enjoy an ice cream or have something to drink. After finishing what they are having, they could head back to the car and head off on their journey.

But, in reality, the current charging stations can’t support the number of EVs that are on the roads. Granted, they have many flaws too, from the range of the cars to the time taken for charging alone is way too much. Learn more about the problems of charging stations here. Lack Of Charging Stations – The Hurdle For EVs

Why Is Battery Swapping A Thing?

Let’s get one thing straight, battery swapping will be helpful as a means to introduce EVs into the market, where gas-powered cars dominate the market. But, as the majority of the people transfer themselves to EVs, battery swapping might become irrelevant, as people will prefer charging, as the tch continuously updates itself.

For understanding this concept, let’s take a look at China, and NIO’s Power Swap Station 2.0. As per analysts, battery swapping can help in introducing or boost EV penetration in China, particularly the EVs used in public transportation. China does have inadequate charging facilities, as seen throughout the world, which hinders the expansion of EVs.

NIO’s Battery swapping station.

Mi Siyi, an analyst for BloombergNEF said, “While home and workplace chargers will be most favored by private EV owners, battery swapping, together with fast-charging stations, can gain more popularity among fleet operators, particularly taxis, ride-hailing vehicles, and light commercial vehicles”.

She added saying, “The momentum in EV battery swapping is rising, as there are more large EV fleets on the road, particularly taxis and light commercial vehicles, compared to the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20). Local government incentives will also further support its growth”. “However, challenges remain when it comes to standardized battery design, high capital cost, and low utilization rates. This will likely limit the application of battery swapping”.

The Limitations of Swapping batteries

Battery swapping sounds perfect on paper, as a way to introduce EVs into the automobile market all around the world. But there are 3 main limitations to this solution.

Firstly, batteries and their systems are different. In today’s cars, both EVs and gas-powered vehicles, are much more incorporated into a central unit. Meaning that the car has its system, which allows it to understand the things happening to it. Battery swapping will mess with the ways of systems of these cars.

NIO’s battery swapping station at a Sinopec station in China

Moreover, different manufacturers have different batteries and designs. Not all humans are built the same, similarly, not all EV models are built the same. For example, a Tesla Model X is not the same as a Mercedes Benz EQS. So, if battery swapping must be a thing, manufacturers will have to make a unified design and tech.

Lastly the cost. The cost of maintaining such a system will be monumental. As people will swap batteries, and be on their way. That battery will have to be charged again and reused. Thus, the cost of building the station added with maintaining the batteries will be expensive. Making this solution viable only for the start of EVs.

Ending Note

Battery Swapping looks like a good method for one of the main problems of EVs. But, as with all solutions, there are some problems too. In the end, as customers, we want to drive our vehicles easily, and with the upgrades to tech, I’m sure that there will be a good outcome to this problem.

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