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May 26, 2021

Future "Gas" Stations Could Look Like This

There is no denying the rise of electric vehicles; last year global sales increased by 43 percent and in markets such as Norway and the Netherlands, EV sales surpassed those of traditional ICE engine vehicles. As adoption rates increase, the conversation moves to the improvement of day-to-day electric vehicle ownership, specifically battery replenishment infrastructure and services.

While Europe and the U.S. continue to look at improving battery charging technology—the Taycan’s 800-volt charging system is one example, a solution proposed in China looks to battery swapping instead. Geely, through the Geely Technology Group is currently testing the technology using their CaoCao ride-hailing service.

The primary use of these stations is swapping empty batteries in cars with full charged batteries. The station will also manage the batteries, charging, switching and removing them where appropriate.

According to Geely, battery swapping decreases the dependence on high-voltage rapid charging stations. For customers, it could mean a fully-charged car battery in just one minute. And the cost for a battery swap? Around 55 yuan or P 413.20. It still costs less than a full tank of gas, and can give almost 400 kilometers of driving range in the same time it takes to fill up a gasoline powered car.

Of course, the big question here is safety. According to Geely, they’ve addressed this by constructing the battery swapping station in fire proof material; installing smoke and fire detectors that can activate fire extinguishers automatically; and have an early warning system that can quickly identify a battery malfunction and dump them into sandboxes in under 10 seconds.

While Geely’s battery swapping tech is currently only available for use by certain cars using its CaoCao taxi service, it suggests great potential for the future. The one thousand or so stations located throughout China allow for the tech and services to be further improved and debugged so battery swapping can become equal measures practical and affordable and assist in the realization of a pure electric future.

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