Conventional cable-based conductive EV charging is now being complemented by battery swapping. This involves replacing the depleted battery with a fully charged pack or module. Battery swapping has the potential to overcome many of the challenges experienced with DC fast-charging - mainly related to battery degradation and grid loads. While the time to charge a battery from 10% to 80% at a fast charger typically ranges between 20 and 45 minutes, a battery swap can be accomplished in just under 5 minutes. Once the depleted battery has been removed, it can then be 'trickle-charged' at a charge-rate that doesn't compromise the battery's life cycle or strain the grid.
There are, however, other less obvious advantages to swapping out a battery - such as seamless updates to the latest battery chemistries when existing batteries become obsolete or outdated and the option of choosing the battery size as per the range required, on demand. So, while fast-charging is currently favoured by the global EV industry and legislators, interest in battery swapping is growing - particularly in China.
The biggest fundamental flaw that hinders the global adoption of battery swapping is the inherent need for EVs with standardised battery systems. As EV makers embark on a path to become vertically integrated, the battery becomes a critical intellectual property that differentiates the brand, making standardisation very unlikely. A move towards structural batteries would further complicate the case for swapping.
- Drivers and barriers to battery swapping
- Achieving battery swapping across various EV segments: cars, two and three-wheelers, and commercial heavy duty with supporting case studies
- Mechanical componentry inside a battery swap station (BSS) for cars
- Cost comparison to AC/DC charging
- Battery as a Service (BaaS) business model
- IDTechEx's outlook for swap station deployment globally - will it catch on outside of China?