Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL), the world’s largest EV battery maker, has launched a modular battery swap service for electric vehicles in China.
Called EVOGO, the service will allow drivers to change car batteries in one minute, CATL said. During an event streamed live online (see video above), Chen Weifeng, general manager of CATL's subsidiary Contemporary Amperex Energy Service Technology (CAES), said the company will initially set up swap stations in ten cities around China that users will be able to access via an app.
EVOGO stations will allow users of compatible EV models to swap out depleted battery blocks for freshly charged ones. The first car compatible with CATL’s EVOGO service is the Bestune Nat MPV built by FAW Group. Chen said that more models would be included in the future.
“We consider the battery as a shared product, instead of a consumer product for personal use.”
Chen Weifeng, general manager of CATL’s CAES
The executive added that EVOGO aimed to address “the challenge of range anxiety, inconvenience of recharging and high purchasing and driving costs” for owners.
The launch of CATL’s battery swapping service comes as EV sales have taken off in China and companies are competing to cut costs and reduce range anxiety.
CATL is the second big player in China to build battery swapping stations, with EV maker NIO already having a network of 700 battery swapping stations in place across China. Using these stations, NIO car owners can swap a fully charged battery in three minutes.
Last September, Geely also announced plans to set up 5,000 battery swapping stations for EVs globally by 2025.
While battery swapping stations are picking up pace in China, they are almost absent from the United States. Last year, battery swapping startup Ample launched the first five stations in the country, all in the San Francisco area.
At one point, Tesla tested battery swapping, but then withdrew a plan to offer the service to customers, focusing on its Supercharger network of fast chargers instead.