Why neither Battery Swapping nor Fast Charging is the Ultimate Answer?

When it comes to new energy vehicles, the question of efficient charging solutions is pivotal. Despite minimal improvements in battery energy density over the past couple of years, manufacturers have been actively innovating to tackle the challenge of slow EV charging.

In this pursuit, two prominent technological pathways have emerged as frontrunners: the battery-swapping approach typified by NIO and the 800V high-voltage fast-charging strategy pursued by Xpeng and Li Xiang Auto.

However, predicting which of these, battery swapping or fast charging, will dominate in the future is complex. In actuality, neither may emerge as the sole trend.

Battery Swapping Model

Consider first the battery-swapping model; its advantages are undeniable. Swapping a fully charged battery at a station takes just 3 minutes, outpacing traditional refueling. It also allows users to consistently access top-performing batteries, enhancing the user experience. Yet, the model’s drawbacks are equally apparent—it is prohibitively expensive.

Building a single swapping station costs around 1.5 to 3 million yuan, excluding the substantial battery stock they require. The operational demands and the station’s dependency on a single brand’s customers exacerbate the cost and operational challenges. Even if these obstacles are overcome, the societal resource waste due to brand exclusivity poses further concerns.

Despite these drawbacks, in specialized scenarios, the economics of the swapping model may work out. It can cater to concentrated user bases and find a niche in commercial vehicles where quick recharging is imperative, such as ride-hailing and freight trucks.

battery swapping

 

800V High-Voltage Fast Charging

Turning to fast charging, its advantages are clear. 800V high-voltage charging can provide a 200 km range in just 5 minutes, significantly assuaging range anxiety for users. Yet, achieving this level of fast charging necessitates significant upgrades to vehicles, charging points, and the national power grid.

These upgrades, including the high cost of station construction and the substantial power grid requirements, present a similar form of wasteful resource use. Once again, it is likely that this recharging model will only serve as a supplement rather than becoming mainstream.

At the end of 2023, most of the automakers in China already presented their latest electric vehicles with 800V fast charging structures. But at the same time, many cities in China have already started to promote dynamic charging to limit the charging power. When you accept dynamic charging, then you can enjoy half of the power bill, which is quite attractive. This means that even if your EV supports super-fast charging, the power grid will not allow you to charge at maximum power.

800v charging

The Optimal Solution: Home EV Charging

 

Home charging

So, if neither battery swapping nor fast charging emerge as the ultimate solution, what will? The answer, perhaps surprisingly, lies in the most ordinary form of home EV charging. Here’s why.

Home EV charging suffices for the daily driving needs of the majority of households, meeting the most common driving scenarios. The predominantly small, vehicle-focused market furthers the case for home EV charging. Lastly, it represents the lowest overall societal cost, with China’s real estate resources more than capable of supporting its widespread implementation. It still needs to improve the power grid. But it will have the smallest cost.

The Way Forward

Expanding home EV charging can address societal charging needs efficiently and cost-effectively. Integrating this approach within China’s evolving infrastructure can make it the dominant recharging mode, with other methods serving as supplementary conveniences. Worldwide, Europe and North America have proved that home EV charging is the best and most economical option.

CASE

In conclusion, home EV charging is poised to emerge as the dominant mode for recharging new energy vehicles, supporting the national policy direction of a 90% adoption rate. As China and the world transition towards widespread electric vehicle usage, home EV charging presents itself as the optimal solution for recharging, aligning with the needs of consumers and the broader societal landscape.

So, whether in China or globally, home EV charging is the optimal solution for recharging! Do you agree?

 

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