The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has announced the launch of a government battery replacement pilot programme for electric vehicles. This involves not only electric cars but also trucks.
The first eleven cities to be included in the pilot are Beijing, Nanjing, Wuhan, Sanya, Chongqing, Changchun, Hefei, Jinan, Yibin, Tangshan and Baotou, with the latter three focusing on truck applications. The pilot project aims to build more than 1,000 battery swap stations and put more than 100,000 additional battery swap-compatible e-vehicles on the roads, according to the ministry’s announcement.
The battery swap network is expected to help save more than 700,000 tonnes of fuel and more than two million tonnes of CO2 per year. According to the document, a “coordinated working mechanism” will be established to implement the project.
As the announcement currently remains at such general statements, no technical key data on the planned exchange system are known yet. In April, MIIT and the National Energy Administration had announced that they would test the battery swap for New Energy Vehicles as part of a pilot project. Subsequently, a number of cities and provinces had expressed interest, some of which are now being selected.
The most prominent operator of a battery swap system at the moment is probably Nio, which operates a corridor of swap stations along the highway between Beijing and Shanghai and this year introduced the second generation of swap stations – for which it also has a TÜV certificate for operation in the EU. However, the system is only compatible with Nio vehicles.
A similar project was set up in Zhejiang in 2010, but was discontinued in 2013. BAIC’s NEV offshoot, BJEV, had also trialled battery swapping between 2016 and 2018. According to Chinese media, Volvo’s parent company Geely is also working on such a system.
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