China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) battery maker launched a battery swap service on Tuesday, Jan. 18, a report from Reuters reveals.
The new service, called EVOGO, will allow EV drivers to swap their depleted batteries for a fully charged one in as little as one minute. EVOGO and other similar services could go a long way to reducing so-called “range anxiety,” one of the main factors keeping internal combustion vehicle owners from making the switch over the years.
CATL general manager Chen Weifeng announced during a live-streamed event (viewable below) that the firm will set up swap stations in ten cities in China and that users will be able to use the service via an app. “We consider the battery as a shared product, instead of a consumer product for personal use,” Weifeng.
Will EV battery swap stations take off globally?
Aside from range anxiety, the new service would also help to drive down the costs of purchasing and operating an electric vehicle, according to Weifeng. To begin with, the service will be compatible with Chinese automaker FAW Group’s Bestune NAT EV, and the company will soon add integration for other vehicles.
Other companies aiming to help reduce range anxiety in China include EV maker NIO. The firm has been gradually adding to its own network of now more than 700 battery swapping stations since 2000. The company’s service can swap out a battery in three minutes. Another firm, Geely, wants to set up 5,000 EV battery swap stations globally by 2025.
Though there aren’t many examples of firms launching similar services outside of China, San Francisco-based startup Ample recently partnered with Uber to provide battery swapping service to its drivers in California. The world’s largest EV maker Tesla, on the other hand, tested a battery swapping plan, but opted against a full rollout to focus instead on its Supercharger network. The U.S.-based company’s Supercharger technology can recharge up to 200 miles (321 km) of range in only 15 minutes, and the automaker recently announced that it might soon open its use globally so that owners of other brands can also make use of the network.