• Business Business

Oil giant Shell is working with a Chinese car company on a series of controversial 'swap stations' for electric car drivers

NIO's battery swap system allows EV drivers to exchange depleted batteries for fully-charged ones in less than five minutes.

Battery swap station

Photo Credit: iStock

Oil company Shell and Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer NIO are proving that opposites attract. In May, the two businesses opened their first joint EV battery swap station in Europe, announced on Twitter from the Netherlands.

NIO currently operates 16 European battery swap stations and eight charging stations, according to CnEV Post. The Shell-partnered station is located in Harmelen, Netherlands.

According to Reuters, NIO's battery swap system allows EV drivers to exchange depleted batteries for fully-charged ones in less than five minutes. 

This system is considerably faster than even the fastest EV chargers for a full charge — Tesla's high-speed Superchargers can take 15 minutes — but its full efficacy will not be felt until the majority of EV manufacturers agree upon more standardized batteries for the vehicles, Reuters reports. 

Tesla has rejected the notion of battery swapping, with a representative stating that the system is "riddled with problems and not suitable for widescale use," according to Reuters.

Reuters reports that NIO had over 1,300 battery-swapping stations around the world as of March 23. The vast majority of the stations are in China, as InsideEV reports. The company aims to add 1,000 more stations by the end of 2023. 

Additionally, the company operates over 2,500 charging stations in China, according to CnEV Post.

NIO announced its partnership with Shell Group in 2021, with plans to co-install 100 battery swap stations in China by 2025, according to Automotive News.

According to environmental group ClientEarth, Shell's planned emissions will account for 1.6% of the planet's overall carbon emissions budget through 2030. In the same report, ClientEarth estimates that between 2010 and 2018, Shell only dedicated 1% of its investments toward low-carbon energy. 

Though the company occasionally attempts to build goodwill through projects like the NIO partnership, Shell has made dubious progress on climate goals and failed to meet or only partially met several of Climate Action 100+'s Company Assessment benchmark standards for lowering dangerous emissions.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider