Battery Swapping A Reality In China


Kandi's Current EV/NEV Lineup - Presumably All Of These NEVS Are Lumped Into The "Kandi EV" Sales Total

Kandi’s Current EV/NEV Lineup

Turns out that battery swapping is reality in China.

Check out this battery swap site outside of Suzhou, China, a city west of Shanghai.

The uploader of the image tells us that the swapping process is not as easy as with the Tesla Model S, but says the whole process is completed in 4 minutes.

Once inside the swap site, luggage is removed from the trunk and the works there manually removed 4 60 kg batteries.  Less than 4 minutes later, fresh batteries are in and you’re on your way for another 80 km.

We believe this service is used on select Kandi electric cars.

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21 responses to "Battery Swapping A Reality In China"
  1. Rick James says:

    So..what? Until this happens for 300+mile EVs/commercial trucks, this is nonsense.

    1. Brian says:

      After they have that people want 500 and after that 600. Accept the fact that China is using battery swapping and move on man.

      1. Assaf says:

        +1 Brian. Sounds very useful to me.

        There’s a similar operation in Slovakia for vans, also labor-intensive rather than capital- and tech-intensive.

        1. Lensman says:

          I recall an article from a few years ago that showed a delivery truck driver swapping out a large battery pack. He went to an unmanned station, basically a storage shed in a parking lot, which had a forklift in it which was used to pull out the depleted pack and install the new one. Since he had to do this all by himself, obviously it wasn’t done in 4 minutes or less.

          But I haven’t seen any indication that this idea is spreading, so I would guess the economic benefit of that is marginal at best.

          1. Peter Badik says:

            Just see this from this autumn:

            Driving range about 500km a day.

      2. Lou Grinzo says:

        Can we slow down a bit, please?

        How many people are using this service, both in absolute numbers and percentage of EV refuelings (meaning rechargings or swaps)?

        While I think there’s still a chance that battery swapping will have a future for electric cars (not just heavy duty trucks), it’s far from certain that it will be a major player soon or in the medium/long term.

        1. Lensman says:

          Battery swapping makes more sense in China, where it’s hard to find a public EV slow charger, and also quite hard (because of red tape) for apartment dwellers to get one installed for their use.

          My guess is this cost of building and maintaining a battery swap station in a “State Grid” building was paid for by the government, and if so it probably doesn’t have to show a profit. If battery swap station are subsidized by the government, then they could be around for a long time in China.

    2. finecadmin says:

      The average Chinese worker lives close to work; the average Chinese factory worker likely lives in a factory dorm. Same for businesses that delivery trucks would service.

      Oh wait, you think Chinese society was dumb enough to sprawl people and buildings everywhere, like us? The nonsense is yours, Rick.

  2. scottf200 says:

    “for another 80 km” which is just 50 miles. Curious if this is a daily event for people.

    1. finecadmin says:

      No, because China, like most countries, was not dumb enough to sprawl across auto-dependent developments.

  3. Craig Capurso says:

    I would rather weight 30 minutes on a rapid charge

  4. Lensman says:

    I note the sign on the battery swap station says (in English) “State Grid”.

    Googling that, I find the following:

    As of the end of 2013, China’s state grid had built 19,000 charging piles and 500 charging or battery swap stations for electric vehicles; China Southern Power built fewer, almost 4,000 in the densely-populated Pearl River Delta Region.
    [end quote]


    I wonder if these battery swap stations are available for public use, or if they are reserved for government fleets.

  5. Cavaron says:

    Imho china went with this service where the western world should have went 30-50 years ago. 50-60 mile delivery vans and short commuting vehicles with speeds up to 60mph with Lead-Acid or NiCds could (and should) have been done since the oil crisis. At leats for second cars and delivery services, those would have been great and the battery swap would have given the people more flexibility. Only France built about 10 to 20k of these vehicles in the nineties, sadly without swapping.

  6. Will says:

    Battery swapping makes little sense to invest large amounts in, what with next generation batteries just around the corner.

    Furthermore, research in rapid chargers for commercial applications like buses is proceeding well.

    1. finecadmin says:

      …which is why they didn’t invest large amounts. A Chinese laborer lugs batteries, I apparently have to repeat.

      1. Will says:

        There is NO call to be snide, I have NO patience for that.

        My point remains the same; it doesn’t matter how few many or how few swap stations there are, I still believe it’s a terrible area to be investing in – in any way, shape or form.

  7. Will says:

    Another concern I have about battery swaps and potential problem I see is that you can teach the battery swap station staff how to perform the swap for specific vehicles, but when the range of EVs increases in the future, there’ll be so many vehicles, each requiring a different swap procedure – unless some kind of standardised pack is introduced across all vehicles.

    To put the cherry on the cake, you’ve also got the extreme concern that the people at the swap station fail to torque the pack bolts back up to the correct value, and one day you’re driving along and your pack falls onto the road and scrapes along it, sustaining heavy damage. Mistakes can happen, and having a bunch of strangers in some workshop mess with your car isn’t always the safest bet.

  8. protomech says:

    80 km for 4 x 60 kg is 3 kg per km.

    Model S is rated for about 500 km and has a 500 kg battery pack, or about 1 kg per km.

    Nissan LEAF is about 150 km and 300 kg, or about 2 kg per km.

    This is either for heavy trucks or a lead acid pack in a NEV..

  9. Lensman says:

    From a Kandi press release:

    The KD5011 EV

    The new KD5011 EV operates with “Express Change” lithium ion (lithium iron phosphate) batteries which, like the Company’s KD5010, can be safely and quickly replaced by professionals in authorized “Express Change” battery stations. In the Kandi EV model, Pure EVs are sold without batteries to effectively lower the consumer purchase price and eliminate battery maintenance and charging responsibilities, and “Express Change” stations are positioned throughout a city to extend the vehicles’ driving range. As compared with the KD5010 currently manufactured by the Company, which operates with lead-acid rechargeable batteries and has a driving range of 100-150 km per charge, the driving range per charge of the new KD5011 is increased to up to 200-230 km.


    1. mr. M says:

      THX for clarity

  10. finecadmin says:

    So much tunnel vision in these comments- hope I don’t actually encounter you on a public road with such vision.

    -Chinese distances and speeds are not North American distances and speeds. China has not repeated ‘the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the human race’.

    -Chinese vehicles are significantly lighter, largely due to crash test standards that would not work here.

    -For that matter, Chinese drivers are lighter, and Chinese automakers are not obligated to build Yank Tanks (except for luxury models or potential exports). You can already tell from the picture that the Kandis are at or near Kei class- even the “trucks”, which would get you laughed out of Texas.

    -Chinese labor is lower, while land is still valued. So most people live in towers or other such buildings, with less home charging and more demand (and supply) for vendor services.

    Overall, a Chinese solution could be perfectly viable, yet still laughed out of North America. Is it possible commenters are projecting their own wishes, for their own Yank Tanks? Is it possible commenters don’t even grasp that there are things other than Yank Tanks… and places other than North America?