A video of an electric vehicle battery swapping station was posted to Twitter.
#NIO #ElectricVehicles #ev @NIOGlobal
In Sweden i asked a friend to drive the Nio ET7 to the swap station; so i could film the smooth battery swapping. It is the greatest thing of all! Well done Nio! pic.twitter.com/Tvp469YzxJ
— Marnix_B. (@Marnix_Belgium) August 8, 2023
That leads to the question could electric vehicle battery swapping stations work in the United States to help answer range anxiety and spur EV adoption?
The answer is Hell No!
Why Battery Swapping is Not a Viable Solution for EV charging
As the world moves towards a clean energy future, electric vehicles (EVs) have been gaining popularity. However, one of the biggest issues with EVs is the time it takes to charge their batteries. To tackle this issue, many EV manufacturers came up with the idea of battery swapping. Battery swapping offers consumers a way to swap their depleted battery for a fully charged one, without having to wait for it to charge. Although this solution sounds convenient, there are many roadblocks that make it impractical. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why battery swapping is not a viable solution for EV charging.
Complex and Expensive Infrastructure:
Battery swapping infrastructure requires large-scale machinery that is expensive, complex, and requires a considerable amount of real estate. The machinery used for battery swapping must be capable of performing the function of swapping the batteries, storing them, and charging them. Such machines are likely to break down frequently and require routine maintenance, which will only add to the expenses. Hence, investing in such infrastructure may not be feasible for most EV manufacturers and charging station owners.
Technology is still developing:
Another significant drawback of battery swapping is that the current battery technology is not optimized for it. Current batteries are heavy, large, and require a specific structure to fit in the EV’s chassis. They are not made for swapping, and it will require significant modifications to make them compatible. However, we are not too far from the rapid development of energy-dense solid-state batteries. These batteries are expected to curb the idea of battery swapping and offer superior performance. Hence, investing in costly infrastructure that may become redundant soon may not make sense.
Battery swapping technology brings a set of legal and regulatory challenges. The safety regulations governing such large machinery are stringent, and meeting all the requirements can be a daunting task. Moreover, there are issues with battery ownership, recycling, and the potential risks that come with other people handling battery systems. These challenges can result in additional costs and may make it difficult to fully implement battery swapping.
Batteries that power EVs can be incredibly heavy. For example, Tesla’s batteries can weigh between 1500-2000 lbs. The machinery used for battery swapping must accommodate and manage batteries of significant weight. The size and complexity of such machinery may make it impossible to install in most parking and charging spaces.
Finally, recent technological developments have opened new possibilities for EV charging. For example, fast chargers that can charge an EV battery in an hour or less, wireless charging, and portable charging systems have entered the market. Although these alternatives may still need significant investments, they are more practical than battery swapping.
Battery swapping may sound like an exciting solution to the time-consuming process of charging EVs, but it is far from being practical. The infrastructure and machinery needed for battery swapping are expensive, complex, and require ample space. Moreover, the current battery technology is not optimized for such swapping, and solid-state batteries are expected to render battery swapping redundant soon. Given the legal regulations, the weight and size of EV batteries, and other alternatives like fast charging, wireless charging, and portable charging, battery swapping does not seem like a viable solution for EV charging.