One of the biggest headaches for electric vehicle owners is having to recharge when they’re out and about (it even has a name: “range anxiety”).
In the United States, EV charging infrastructure has yet to become standard nationwide, and charging can take hours. One clever company is testing out a different solution to drained batteries: battery swapping.
Discussions around EVs have focused on charging infrastructure, and rightly so, as you can only ever go so far if you always need to charge your car at home.
Just think about how many gas stations there are in your town. In the U.S., we’re not yet near that level of saturation for EV chargers. On top of that, JD Power has found that 20.8 percent of EV drivers experienced problems with charging stations in the U.S.
NIO’s news comes as a reminder that we should explore battery swapping to add to our charging infrastructure. The company has over 1,900 swap stations, and after 30 million swaps, they have learned a lot about efficient swapping. Their first European swap station was established in partnership with Shell Oil.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it is just one more we can add to our toolkit. Swapping is best adapted for electric fleets that are managed by companies, like those of ride-share companies or delivery services, since they can have their mechanics swap out batteries on hand.
EV enthusiasts are already discussing the viability of battery swapping in the U.S. One commenter said, “I would like to buy an EV with a small battery and have the option to rent and swap an additional battery for long trips.”
Others are excited by the possibility of focusing on battery rental models and recyclability that swapping stations explore “The idea is great and likely far better for the planet than Tesla’s structural battery pack that must be shredded at end of life. When these packs are no longer useful in vehicles they could be repurposed for power-wall-type use until ultimately recycled.”
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