Geely announced that it was going to start looking into battery swapping technology for its EVs back in 2017, and now it has shown one of its swapping stations at the 2021 Wuzhen Internet Conference, where it also announced plans to have as many as 5,000 of them operational in China by 2025.
Its first battery swapping station was inaugurated in exactly one year ago, in September 2020, and in the meantime others have been built in ten different provinces. These stations are called E-Energee and they are currently aimed at vehicles that are part of mobility fleets (ride sharing-like services), but private owners will be able to use them too.
And it would make sense for anyone to use them, given the fact that Geely says it takes exactly 59 seconds to take out a depleted pack and then replace it with a fully-charged one. That is comparable, or possibly even quicker, than filling up a conventional ICE vehicle, and considerably quicker than waiting for an EV (even one with rapid charging capability) to charge.
Geely Technology Group, the Geely subsidiary that is handling this project, now has a team of over 1,000 people actively working on it, in order to meet the goal of having thousands of them pop up in just a few years.
Geely isn’t the only Chinese automaker interested in battery swapping. Rivals from NIO (whose official plan is to have 4,000 stations up and running by 2025) and BAIC already have similar large scale projects underway and they all pretty much do the same thing: replace the depleted battery with a charged one in just under a minute.
China as a country is also encouraging this and it even adopted standards and safety guidelines for EVs whose batteries can be swapped and the stations they will be swapped in. These new instructions will go into effect starting November 1 and this puts China at odds with most other countries that have more or less abandoned the idea of swapping batteries in favor of charging them really quickly.