Did you know.. Swapping batteries may be the future?
Battery swapping, a great step towards fully electric transportation.
More than ever, electric vehicles are part of our society. Caused by heavy traffic jams and environmental issues, a search for compact and green vehicles started years ago. But at the same time, consumers did not want to compromise too much on aspects like price, speed and effort. That is why todays electric vehicles are equipped with strong and efficient batteries, to ensure a pleasant user experience. But batteries need to be charged, and this process takes time and space, especially in the current system with charging stations. Swappable batteries may change this forever.
A perfect example of a country that is explicitly putting focus on the importance of electric vehicles is India. The Indian government is striving to become a fully electric nation in the years to come. But there is a problem that stops this vision from becoming reality. The country with the largest two-wheeler market in the world, almost 18 million vehicles sold during the last year, suffers from a huge infrastructural problem. All these vehicles need to be charged, using cables, at a charging station. If everyone in the country would use this technology, there simply would not be enough space.
Battery swapping can solve these problems. Battery stations strategically placed, equipped with a variety of batteries already exist in Taiwan. These stations can be accessed by an app, to check availability and book batteries in advance. A battery change only takes 10 seconds. No cables are needed, only a subscription with a monthly fee. The biggest advantage of this technology is that vehicles no longer have to be parked for a few hours to be charged.
Gogoro, www.gogoro.com, is the successful supplier of more than 400 of their so-called GoStations in Taiwan. The company already raised 300 million dollars of investment for its projects. Gogoro plans to expand to other countries like Japan, Germany, France and the Netherlands, and keeps its options open to enter other industries like logistics.
This battery swapping technology is fairly new, and therefore still receives critical reviews. A major disadvantage is that batteries are no one size fits all product. Different electric vehicles have different batteries. This variety makes it really hard to create a standardized swapping point and makes it almost impossible to serve every electric vehicle owner.
Another grey area that still exists concerning battery swapping is the warranty. In the current charging station environment, every customer owns every part of his vehicle. If the battery of a vehicle is being swapped, the question raises who carries responsibility for the product. Is it the manufacturer, the supplier of the swapping stations, or the consumer?
Altogether, clear and satisfying answers are needed to give this ground-breaking technology a chance in a competitive market. The foundation to solve the infrastructural problem of electric vehicles is there. Still there are some major obstacles in the way, but this is a great step in the direction of a world with only electric vehicles.