Nio may have started making headlines with its increasing network of electric vehicle battery swapping stations in China, but fellow Chinese carmaker Geely is doing the same. The former already has almost 200 such stations that are already operational, so it has a head start, but Geely wants to catch up and promises to have 100 stations up and running by the end of this year.
Even though battery swapping makes EVs more complex, companies that are embracing it argue the extra complexity is worth it because it’s so much quicker than charging. Spending not more than a minute to have a fully charged battery, as opposed to waiting around for it to be charged, really does sound good in theory.
Curious to see how battery swapping works? Well, this video published by Geely UnCut takes you through the entire process, if you drive a Geely EV in China. First you have to use an app to locate the nearest swapping station (the app shows distance to the station, as well as the number of available battery packs), you select your desired destination and then drive there.
Once at the station, you simply drive into a small building, as you would into an automated car wash, position your vehicle in the right place to allow for the depleted pack to be removed, and the entire process takes about a minute. Once the new battery has been installed (this is all done automatically under the car, while the driver is still inside), you simply drive the vehicle out of the station and proceed to wherever you need to go.
The video makes it look so quick and easy that you really wonder why battery swapping didn’t take off when Renault first tried it out over a decade ago. The French automaker’s first series EV, the Fluence Z.E., had been designed with battery swapping in mind, but the company eventually dropped the idea altogether and concentrated on making its electric vehicles charge quicker.