As a leading force in the new energy market, the Chinese market has never ceased to explore new energy markets. Among them, battery swap mode has become one of the more popular ones.
Recently, in the 2020 China International Intelligent Industry Expo, Geely Technology Group released the battery swap mode.
Geely's Maple car launched its first battery swap new energy model Maple 80V, which opened the new prelude of Geely's deployment of the battery swap mode.
As the independent brand with the largest market share in China, Geely devoted itself to the new energy battery swap field, reflecting the hot market of the battery swap market, and became another wind direction in the new energy replenishment field.
On the press conference, Geely announced that it plans to complete 35 battery swap stations in Chongqing this year, and more than 200 battery swap stations will be completed in Chongqing by 2023.
Up to now, Geely Technology Group has signed more than 1000 battery swap stations in China.
In fact, not only Geely, before that, Changan Automobile also established Changan New Energy's first battery swap demonstration station in Chongqing, launched the Yidong EV's battery swap version.
In the industry, the more mature battery swap model is NIO and BAIC New Energy, the former has become the forerunner in the private battery swap market. The former has become the forerunner in the private battery swap market, while the latter has made some scale in the field of operating vehicles.
Of course there is also the operator specializing in the battery swap of the new energy, currently occupies nearly half of the battery swap market share.
Yes, the early stages of new energy are the product of policy push, and the battery swap model has also become a matter of active promotion at the national level, with information such as exploring the separation of body and battery, and the inclusion of battery swap stations in new infrastructure.
Although the speed of battery swap is the closest to the fuel refueling of a gasoline vehicle, the heavy investment in battery swap station facilities and battery reserves, and inconsistent technical standards are the stumbling blocks.
So who can make a breakthrough in this new mode of exploration in the field, whether the battery swap is just a supplement, whether it can really wake up the new energy market, the road ahead is full of uncertainties.
The biggest problem facing the current electric car is the inconvenience of charging, you know that in the first and second tier cities where the layout of charging station is quite abundant, to charge in the public charging station it must depend on luck.
Because you never know if the charger you're going to is available, or if there are other non-charging vehicles occupying the parking space.
Many people are afraid to drive their electric cars with battery alarms to charge them, for fear that they might not be able to charge them and end up on the road.
Is it possible to treat the battery of the electric car as a fuel tank, each battery swap station and ordinary gas station.
The car that is about to run out of fuel drives in fills up with fuel to start the next journey and the battery swap station is just to replace the "empty tank", and install a "full tank".
This is the battery swap mode, which was once thought to be the best solution to change the slow charging and replenishment of electric cars.
At the same time, by separating the body and the battery, it not only greatly reduces the purchase threshold of the vehicle, but also solves the user's concern about the battery life and low residual value of the vehicle.
The unified management of battery and centralized slow charging can effectively guarantee to charge safety and battery life, and further reduce charging cost by using peak and valley electricity price.
Theoretically, this approach is possible, and currently in the private market battery swap mode is the best to do is NIO. Not long ago, NIO launched the BAAS battery rental service, officially opened the body and battery separation mode.
Can provide the body and battery separation, battery rental, can be recharged can be exchanged can be upgraded service, and rental battery mode can make the car price reduced by 70,000 yuan.
Although "battery swap" is not NIO's first initiative, NIO is the pioneer and implementer of battery swap for electric vehicles in China.
Before the release of NIO ES8, consumers had little access to battery swap, but after ES8 and ES6 (specs|photos) went on sale, car owners started to become "battery swap" fans.
As of the first quarter of 2020, NIO has landed 123 battery swap stations covering 51 cities with over 16,000 battery swap vehicles.
The penetration rate of the owner-battery swap has exceeded 50% since the opening of a free battery swap.
The east wind of policy is also blowing to the battery swap field. This year China's financial subsidy policy stipulates that battery swap models are not subject to the 300,000 prices red line.
This provision can be regarded as the state's support and affirmation of the battery swap model.
Not long ago, China's Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei also talked about, the future will encourage the development of battery swap mode, continue to increase the charging battery swap infrastructure construction, encourage all kinds of charging battery swap facilities to achieve interoperability.
Not only NIO, in the latest batch of "road motor vehicle manufacturers and products notice" of new products, Roewe's three battery swap models into the announcement.
At present, BAIC New Energy, Roewe, and Geely have all declared their "battery swap electric cars" in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Last month, it was reported that Hozon Auto is planning to cooperate with several battery factories, including CATL, to launch a car body and battery separation model.
Although Xpeng Motors' current technology doesn't support "battery swap," it still offers a car-body/battery separation service, which is essentially a low-interest financial installment plan that further lowers the barrier to purchase by leasing batteries.
It looks like battery swap and body and battery separation have almost become the trend of the industry. And the industry, associations, and car enterprises are also working together to explore the new path of separating battery swap and body and battery.
A few days ago, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance, China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, FAW, SAIC, Dongfeng, BAIC, NIO, and other car enterprises, as well as CATL, Neusoft Ruichi, and other 20 units jointly established the body and battery separation ecosystem.
Meanwhile, substantial progress has been made in the development of the battery swap standard.
In August this year, by BAIC new energy, NIO led the drafting of the "electric vehicle battery swap safety requirements" recommended national standards through the review, the development of standards will provide guidance for the healthy and safe development of the battery swap industry.
The National Automotive Standardization Technical Committee and the Standardization Center of China Electricity Enterprise Federation are leading the development of a series of electric vehicle battery swap standards, 26 national standards have been issued, 18 industry standards, which laid the foundation for the popularization and application of the battery swap model.
There is no doubt that the new battery swap mode, will give birth to a new industrial chain, such as the overall design of the vehicle, battery pack process standards, infrastructure construction, etc., which has a long and far-reaching impact on the promotion of social employment.
As for the taxi, net car, and other operating companies, the advantages of battery swap are more obvious, enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of the operation, which is also the biggest motivation for BAIC New Energy and Space-Time Electric to explore the battery swap mode.
Theoretically, battery swap is just like refueling, very friendly to car owners' time, and cost-saving, basically, a fully charged battery can be ready in 3-5 minutes.
However, the battery swap model is still being explored, and the fundamental reasons are the construction and operation costs, and the lack of standardization of battery technology.
In the field of battery swap has long been foreign companies have explored, as early as more than a decade ago, there is a foreign company called Better Place in research battery swap technology, later also with Nissan, Renault signed up to 100,000 exclusive electric car cooperation agreement.
Even Better Place has come to China to promote the company, partnering with Chery to develop an electric car in 2010 and setting up the China Southern Power Grid's battery swap experience center in Guangzhou.
After spending a total of $800 million on the project, it eventually went bankrupt, mainly because it was too expensive to make ends meet.
Take the current user-oriented NIO to say, the cost of building a battery swap station in the millions of yuan, especially battery storage, is a huge investment, even a slightly larger battery swap station construction cost is tens of millions.
What's more, in order to make it easy for consumers to use, investors need to lay out a wide range of battery swap stations, the cost can be imagined.
More importantly, now the new energy vehicle's main market in the highly developed economy, large, megacities, where construction land is extremely scarce, demolition difficulties, high land prices and so on all limit the large-scale layout of the battery swap station, convenience and cost often cannot be both.
At the same time and gas station is not the same, battery swap daily service is the limit, once the number of vehicles up, battery swap construction speed can not keep up, will inevitably affect the battery swap experience.
Secondly, hardware in addition to the problem of the battery swap station, another major problem is the standard of the power battery.
Some insiders pointed out that on the one hand, each enterprise's electric vehicle technology standards are different, battery standards also vary widely.
On the other hand, car enterprises are reluctant to share technical standards, which makes the battery swap mode impossible if it is outside the scope of a car enterprise.
In addition, different battery standards also make it difficult for battery swap operators and car manufacturers to cooperate.
Even Tesla, the leading company in the new energy sector, has studied the battery swap model and has called on other car companies to join forces to develop the battery swap.
But as a result, few car companies have signed actual cooperation agreements with them, and the reason for this is that the battery standards of different car companies are quite different.
In the end, Tesla abandoned this recharge model and focused on superchargers.
Regarding the battery standard, the industry has also formulated a preliminary battery swap standard, which is actually the most critical step.
In the past, many people think that the owners of Mercedes-Benz electric cars will be reluctant to replace a Zotye battery, but the current model of separating the body and the battery also allows consumers to use leasing mode instead of buying the battery, which solves the worries about battery ownership.
In fact, the ultimate goal of the battery swap is to unify energy standards, just like gasoline for cars, we can't say that Zotye and Mercedes-Benz have lost their identity by adding the same gasoline.
Aulton New Energy President Gu Qing said bluntly: "Battery standardization is an inevitable trend, battery standardization is not a technical difficulty, but a matter of choice for vehicle companies."
Every company wants to become the Android of the automotive industry, every company wants to become the provider and leader of industry technology, but in fact, the technology that determines market competitiveness, the transferor and transferee are not quite consistent to accept, after all, this involves a multiparty game of interest, he said.
Current battery swap technology bottlenecks also include but not limited to electric vehicle high voltage safety, waterproof and dustproof, battery pack maintenance, battery pack health monitoring, long-term connector durability issues, charging safety, etc. If any of these problems are not properly resolved, the implementation of the battery swap model will be a lot of resistance.
It is true that battery swap is a new model, which needs to be continuously explored and explored for new opportunities in the development of new energy in China and around the world.
But it is certain that this road will not be smooth, and even battery swap may end up being only one form of energy replenishment.
In the battery technology has not made a major breakthrough before, fast-charge, slow-charge, battery swap, send electricity and other diversified forms of energy supplement, or will become the objectivity of the new energy market for a long time in the future.