India is quickly moving towards going fully electric and battery swapping can be a feasible and practical refuelling system for electric vehicles.
Since the Indian government has allowed the sale of electric vehicles without a battery pack, the battery swapping system infrastructure is going to expand in India in the near future.
According to a report, India’s battery swapping market is going to see more than 30% growth during 2020-2030. So, it’s something that we need to understand and talk about.
Let’s understand this battery swapping system:
What is Battery Swapping?
Battery swapping is the process of exchanging discharged battery of an electric vehicle with a fully charged one. The process takes just a few minutes and saves a lot of time. And, the place where this is done is called a Battery Swapping Station or BSS.
The battery-swapping station has a number of batteries that EV drivers can exchange the drained batteries with. And, the drained battery will be kept to charging.
Let’s assume a scenario, you are travelling somewhere in your brand new electric vehicle and you’re low on power. Regular charging stations will take more than 30 minutes to charge your EV. But… what if you could directly replace your drained batteries with fully charged ones within minutes as soon as you visit the charging station? Amazing!
More than 80% of total vehicles in India are 2-wheelers and this sector is going to see a faster adoption rate of battery swapping.
Benefits of Battery Swapping
Some of the main benefits of battery swapping in EVs are:
Eliminates the wait time
Fully charging an EV takes anywhere from 2-6 hours depending upon the fast or slow charging.
But… the battery swapping system takes just a few minutes to make the vehicle movable again. The process can take as little as 1.5 minutes to complete. And due to this, a normal charging station would need more parking space to charge multiple vehicles simultaneously but the swapping system won’t need much space to set up a BSS (battery swapping station).
Reduces the EV acquisition cost
Batteries amount to 40-60% of the full cost of owning an electric vehicle. And, if the EV manufacturers are allowed to sell without batteries then it will reduce the initial cost of EV acquisition.
All the batteries will be owned by the battery swapping service providers or energy operators and the end-user will only pay if they need to swap discharged batteries with the charged ones.
In countries like India, low initial costs would be of great help and it’ll motivate people to go electric.
Better grid load management
During office hours or other peak hours, it becomes really difficult to maintain the power supply. The current electricity infrastructure is not able to provide the amount of energy needed during peak hours. Technologies like smart charging can be very helpful in situations like this.
However, the battery swapping system shifts the battery charging schedule to off-peak hours or night time to charge hundreds of batteries. And, during peak hours BSS providers can easily match the power supply with demand.
Batteries last longer
Because you can’t stay waiting for your vehicle to be charged for hours at normal charging stations, fast charging is introduced. But in the long run, fast charging leads to degradation of the battery’s performance.
However, swapped batteries can be charged in a slow and controlled charging environment which ensures comparatively longer battery life.
EV drivers can travel a longer distance
While travelling for 500-1000 km or more, it becomes very difficult to stop at multiple charging stations and wait for hours to get your vehicle charged.
A well-managed battery swapping system will allow drivers to cover unlimited range without getting range anxiety.
It’s environmental friendly
Fast charging degrades batteries fast, and if so then they will become a waste material faster too.
In the battery swapping system, since the batteries are charged at a slower pace, they tend to last comparatively longer. And, that’s good for the environment.
Wrapping it up
I’m quite open to accepting that in the next decade we might see some advanced electric vehicle charging system like wireless charging, but for this decade, a battery swapping system seems to be the most feasible and practical.
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