The idea of getting rid of the limitations on range inherent to fully electric vehicles sounds great, especially given the fact that charging can be one of the most inconvenient parts of owning an electric vehicle. It is with this in mind that a lot of people have begun to explore battery swapping as a solution.

In this post, we are going to explain what battery swapping is, how it works, and how it’s already being implemented in electric vehicles.

What do you mean by battery swapping?

In the context of electric cars, battery swapping refers to the practice of removing a discharged battery from an electric car and replacing it with a fully charged battery. This allows electric cars to travel longer distances without needing to wait for their batteries to recharge.

The concept of battery swapping is a simple one: you take out your old battery, put in a new one, and keep going. The art lies in how it’s done. 

Battery swapping is an alternative to charging that allows you to replace the battery in your electric vehicle with a fully charged one, allowing you to use your car again right away instead of waiting for it to charge.

Battery swapping is not something you can do yourself; it’s a process that takes place at an automated service station while you wait or while you’re doing other things. You drive in and park and the system handles the rest. In this way, it’s much like how gas stations work—you pump your own gas, but you don’t have to bring your own pump!

Battery swapping can be done in minutes rather than taking hours to charge your cars with a slow-charger. This means that you’ll never again have to worry about being stuck on the side of the road waiting for your vehicle to charge up—you’ll be able to get back on the road and out of danger as quickly as possible!

How does a battery swapping station work?

A battery-swapping station works by using an automated system to carefully remove your discharged battery from the car and replace it with a fully charged one. Most systems require that the battery be mounted under the vehicle, as with Tesla’s latest models, or in a compartment or central space within the vehicle.

Manual Battery Swapping

There are two main types of battery swapping stations: manual and automatic. Manual stations require that you lift your hood and attach a cable to the terminals of your battery before handing it over to a human employee who will install a different battery in its place. Automatic stations typically use an automated arm to connect to the terminals of the battery, lift it out of the engine compartment, and replace it with another one.

Automated Battery Swapping

Before you can use a swapping station, you will need to have your car equipped with a compatible battery. Your vehicle will also need to be registered with the station so that they can charge your account when you swap out your battery.

When you pull up to the station, you drive over an electronic pad that reads the identification number on your battery. Once it knows which type of battery you need, the machine pulls out a new battery of the same type and lowers it down so that it is positioned directly above your old one.

Once the batteries are lined up correctly, the machine will cause all of the cables from your old battery to disconnect from it in less than a second, then connect back up with the new one. You might feel a slight bump as this happens, but if everything is working correctly then you won’t hear anything at all.

Finally, once all of the cables have transferred over successfully and your new battery has been charged appropriately, a door opens on top of it so that you can remove any leftover pieces of your old one (such as caps).

In this video, we take a look at how the battery swapping system works, and how the company views current trends in battery swapping.

Why do we need battery swapping technology?

The first reason that battery swapping technology is important is that it can save time. If you’re in a hurry, and your car is running low on charge, it can be difficult to find an available charging station. Waiting for your vehicle to charge may not be an option if you’re in a rush to get somewhere. With battery swapping technology, all you have to do is pull in and swap out your battery, and then you’re off!

With battery swapping technology, you can get a fresh battery in as little as 5 minutes, which means you can keep moving instead of waiting around. It also means that all you have to do is pop in your old battery, skip the wait time, and get back on the road without ever having to worry about your car’s electrical system.

The second reason that battery swapping technology is important is that it’s convenient. If you can’t afford to be without your vehicle while it charges, the ability to simply swap out your battery will allow you to stay on the go while a new one charges.

Third, the technology will also reduce wear on the batteries as well as save time for EV drivers. It will also make EVs more convenient and less expensive to own since fewer batteries would be required to drive the same distance.

How fast is battery swapping? 

Customers can power up their vehicles in just three minutes, due to the breakthrough approach to recharging. The battery swapping process at a Supercharger is expected to take between 5 and 15 minutes. instead of using an external charger, the battery swap stations provide a battery bar where you can swap out your depleted battery for a fully charged one. This allows you to get on the road with no delay and without spending any time charging.

For example, Nio, the Chinese TPV EV maker, has released its smart-battery swap stations. These stations will allow drivers to swap their batteries in just three minutes, thereby removing the need for long charging times and offering a range of up to 218 miles on a single charge. Users can have their used batteries swapped out for fully charged ones simply by pulling up to one of these stations and letting it do its work. Stations are located throughout China and can swap up to 312 batteries per day.

What are the challenges of battery swapping?

Battery swapping is a challenge for car manufacturers because it’s an entirely new setup that can’t be supported by the current infrastructure.

Industry-wide adoption of battery swapping technology is still in its infancy, which means that battery swapping stations have not reached the critical mass needed to be widely adopted by consumers. This is the so-called “chicken and egg” problem.

First of all, car manufacturers would need to establish their own battery swapping service centers, and they’d need to build the infrastructure to make them possible. As it stands, the current infrastructure for charging electric cars at home or on the go is already lacking. There’s not enough support for electric vehicle owners, and the network of charging stations has a long way to go before it will be able to accommodate large numbers of EV drivers.

Additionally, there are several challenges surrounding battery swapping that go beyond just building service centers. The first is that it’s very difficult to find a place to dispose of used batteries—there aren’t currently any solutions for safely recycling them, which means that more and more lithium-ion batteries are being stockpiled as more electric vehicles are sold without any clear idea of where they’re going to go when they die.

The second is that lithium-ion batteries are still very expensive to produce; since most electric vehicle manufacturers buy their batteries from third-party companies, this cost is often passed on directly to customers in the price of their cars.

The high upfront cost is a major challenge because it’s keeping battery swapping from being widely adopted. Right now, the cost of building a battery-swapping station is between $500,000 and $1 million. This is only feasible for companies like Tesla who have spent billions on R&D of their batteries and can afford it.

Has battery swapping been launched?

Battery swapping was first introduced by Better Place, an Israeli corporation that produced and installed charging stations for electric cars. The company’s business model was to lease batteries to customers rather than sell them, and its charging stations would swap discharged batteries for fully-charged ones in about the same time it takes to fill a car with gasoline.

Unfortunately, the company failed in 2012 because it was not able to attract enough customers due to high costs and lack of infrastructure.

What is mobile battery swapping? 

Ample, a company that provides battery-swapping services for electric vehicles, has raised $160M to expand its service.

“We believe this technology can have a huge impact on society,” said Khaled Hassounah, Ample’s CEO. “Most people already own cars, and switching to an electric vehicle can be as easy as changing your battery.”

What is mobile battery swapping?
Image Credits: TechCrunch


In a nutshell, battery swapping is when you temporarily change the battery on a vehicle for another fully charged battery that’s ready to go. The switch happens in as little as a few seconds, so the driver is not left waiting around while the required charging takes place. Battery swapping has been around since the early days of EVs, but it really gained steam recently in part due to actively low prices of EV batteries.

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