Battery Swapping Could Turbocharge Electric Vehicle Fleets

This article first appeared on the BNEF mobile app and the Bloomberg Terminal.

  • China has over 550 battery swapping stations operating
  • Battery swapping activity is limited in Europe and the U.S.

Battery swapping can significantly reduce refueling time for electric vehicles (EVs). There are now over 550 battery swapping stations in China. NIO and BAIC are two leading automakers in battery swapping technology.

NIO has installed nearly 180 stations, while BAIC has set up over 220 stations and plans to add 100 more across China in 2021. BNEF expects battery swapping to gain more traction in taxi, ride hailing and short-haul trucking applications, which demand faster refueling than private EV owners. Batteries used in fleet vehicles are also easier to standardize.

Battery swapping technology could help increase EV adoption in some hard-to-electrify sectors. Although still in its infancy, the battery swapping network in China already dwarfs the hydrogen refueling network. BNEF estimates that 648 hydrogen refueling stations were in operation globally at the end of 2020, with 96 in China.

Battery swapping and hydrogen are still far behind EV charging. China installed 112,000 public EV charging connectors in December 2020 alone.

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