U.S. EV manufacturers should consider China’s battery-swapping model

EV manufacturers are working on solutions by partnering with charging providers, utility companies and even oil companies to advance the infrastructure for EVs and create more accessibility for drivers as demand grows. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors have announced partnerships with third-party charging providers to offer more charging options in the U.S. In 2021, Nio and Shell entered a cooperation agreement to jointly construct and operate battery charging and swapping facilities globally.

Aside from charging stations or at-home chargers, there is another alternative that manufacturers should look at, one that has been working well in countries such as China — battery swapping. While it takes more than an hour to fully charge common EVs, battery swapping takes less than five minutes.

Battery swapping has not been considered mainstream in the past but it has been experiencing a revival in China with the adoption by some major players.

In the ever-growing EV landscape, manufacturers are pushing for this method, giving them an advantage and competitive edge.

With the introduction of a battery as a service, or BaaS, solution, EV customers can lease their batteries as a separate component from the car, which then gives the customer the opportunity to save money upfront in the purchase price of an electric vehicle.

With BaaS, the customer can swap out or upgrade their vehicle’s battery when needed, as an alternative to trying to charge or finding a charging station.

Users can subscribe to battery packs of various capacities according to their driving needs. If there is a trip that will take more miles, the driver can have a long-distance battery installed. Once back, the driver can switch to a standard battery pack for their daily use.

The BaaS function can also help with EV penetration challenges, including battery degradation and upgradeability and potential lower vehicle resale value. It is also less time-consuming and requires minimum infrastructure compared with a charging station.

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