Chinese-based electric vehicle (EV) battery firm, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), has launched a battery swapping service.
The world’s largest producer of EV batteries says it will allow EV users to swap out batteries in a minute, hopefully alleviating much of the “range-anxiety” experienced by prospective EV owners who might still be sitting on the fence.
Its battery-as-a-service (BaaS), called EVOGO, would be offered in ten major Chinese metropoles, according to CATL.
In a live stream, Chen Weifeng, general manager of Contemporary Amperex Energy Service Technology, a subsidiary of parent company CATL, told viewers that the service would be accessible via a downloadable app.
EVOGO would initially offer its services to Changchun-based Chinese automotive heavyweight, FAW, specifically the FAW Bestune NAT, a multi-purpose vehicle that enjoys a significant presence in China’s ride-hailing market, said Chen. In the future, CATL would add more vehicle options.
According to Chen, his company viewed EV batteries as a “…shared product, as opposed to a consumer product for personal use”.
Chinese automotive unicorn, NIO, has also expanded into EV infrastructure, having installed more than 700 battery swap stations across mainland China. The firm’s BaaS facilities allow NIO users to swap depleted battery units for fully-charged replacements in less than three minutes, according to Reuters.
CATL and NIO believe by expanding BaaS many reluctant motorists will make the switch from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles to new energy vehicles like EVs.
The two companies are attempting to alleviate “range anxiety” which industry experts describe as the concern motorists have about running out of battery power halfway to their destination, with no battery charging or swapping facility nearby.
The term was coined more than 20 years ago by Richard Acello when describing concerns General Motors EV1 drivers had when operating the vehicle.
The equivalent term in Norway is “rekkeviddeangst” which placed second in Norway’s prestigious 2013 “Word of the Year” contest. It’s worth noting that Norway is the globe’s chief adopter of EVs; 65% of new vehicles sold in the country last year were EVs.
Battery swap stations may be gaining traction in China but the rest of the world is lagging. Elon Musk’s EV brand, Tesla, briefly experimented with the service but opted instead to develop supercharging technology which the company claims can reach a charge capacity of 200 miles in 15 minutes.