this less than 5 minute “charging” solution could land in Europe

After Nio and MG, the world’s number 1 in electric car batteries, CATL, is considering offering its battery exchange stations in other markets outside its home country, and especially in Europe. Enough so that all electric car manufacturers can offer this service to their customers to “recharge” their battery in less than five minutes.

CATL Evogo

Today, if you want to quickly recharge your electric car, the only solution left is to go to a terminal that offers sufficient power, such as Tesla Superchargers or Ionity stations that top out at 250 and 350 kW respectively. Problem, it is so necessary to wait between 18 to 30 minutes at best, to go from 10 to 80% of the battery.

An innovative solution

But another method is slowly starting to develop: battery swapping. The concept is simple: the car’s accumulator is removed from the latter in an automated way and replaced by a fully charged block, in about five minutes. This solution has been particularly democratized by the Chinese manufacturer Nio, which inaugurated its 1000th station on its territory at the beginning of summer 2022. The company has also installed two in Norway and has just inaugurated another one in Germany.

SAIC MG battery replacement -00001
SAIC battery exchange station

But the manufacturer is not the only one interested in this alternative. The SAIC group, which notably owns MG, has also announced its desire to develop its battery exchange stations with an operation that will take 2 minutes and 30 seconds. But they should not be arriving in Europe at the moment.

On the other hand, another player is considering developing this solution outside of China. This is CATL, a company specialized in the production of batteries, which cooperates with all the major manufacturers present in Europe, especially with Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, among others.

CATL launched its first battery exchange station in ten cities in China last January through its company EVOGO. According to the company, the solution would only take a minute to replace the battery. The Chinese company knows Europe well, as it has two battery factories there.

New possibilities

As Li Xiaoning, Executive President of Overseas Business Applications at CATL claims at CNBC, the company is currently considering expanding its stations in Europe. In an interview, he explains that ” we are beginning to assess the potential for cooperation with many partners […] There are many things we are considering. Product technology is one thing, another is profitability analysis, regulationlocal regulations and other factors we also have to think about“.

Nine Power Swap Station
Nine Power Swap Station

The potential arrival of this technology to the Old Continent could allow European manufacturers to offer it without having to undertake the very expensive construction of the stations themselves. However, the platform must be compatible with this system. And that is precisely the case with the MG4 platform, although this affordable electric car does not appear to be designed for battery swapping.

Nio, for its part, only offers this service to its customers who must have subscribed to the battery rental offer. This has had some success, as almost all Norwegian owners have chosen this formula, as well as more than half of Chinese buyers.

The Chinese company is currently ahead of its competitors, whileit plans to eventually install more than 1,000 battery replacement stations outside his country of birth, and especially in Europe.

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