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Battery-swap sector ramps up as NEV owners seek alternative

By LI FUSHENG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-06-27 10:02

BAIC displays its battery swapping vehicle at an international technology industry expo held in Beijing. [PHOTO BY A JING/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Chinese battery giant CATL is exploring the market as well. Last week, its battery swapping service, called Evogo, became available in Hefei, Anhui province.

The battery-swap station is the size of three parking spaces, and each houses 48 battery blocks. It allows the swapping of a single battery block in around one minute.

There will be three fast battery-swap stations in Hefei at first, and it is estimated to reach 20 by the end of this year, the company said.

Evogo's development came within two months of the company's first stations opening in Xiamen, Fujian province. A total of 30 such stations are expected to be available in the coastal city.

China FAW Group's Bestune has launched models capable of swapping batteries at Evogo stations.

Chen Weifeng, general manager of CATL's battery swapping arm CAES, said the new solution will solve range anxiety problems as well as the inconvenience of recharging.

"As a business model of sharing and providing good service to our customers, we consider the battery a shared product instead of a consumer product for personal use," Chen said.

In May, local authorities in Chongqing released their new energy vehicle battery swapping pilot plan, saying that the city will set up more than 200 power stations and promote more than 10,000 NEVs capable of battery swapping by 2023.

Chongqing is one of a number of cities selected by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to run a pilot program and speed up the construction of battery swapping infrastructure.

In Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province that borders Chongqing, the number of battery charging and swapping stations will hit 350 by the end of this year.

Earlier this month, a car hailing company in the city, called Xiaoma Chuxing, ordered 7,000 battery swapping vehicles from Dongfeng Nissan.

There were 1,519 battery swapping stations across the country by the end of May, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance.

Analysts at Founder Securities estimate that there will be 3.2 million battery-swap cars across the country by 2025, with more than 28,000 power stations.

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