State media praises NIO-led battery swap model in two articles on same day-CnEVPost

In its November 13 issue, the Economic Information Daily, a subsidiary of China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency, devoted a rare two-part article to the same topic, praising the NIO-led battery swap model as the trend of the future.

According to one of the articles, the battery swap model is faster than refueling and does not take up parking spaces for long periods of time compared to standard charging. By separating the value of the body and the battery, the consumer purchase threshold can also be lowered.

The previous failure of foreign enterprises in battery swap was because of the initial one-time investment and technical standards are not perfect, but now the rapid development of China's new energy vehicle technology has brought the cost down significantly, so that the economic problem of battery swap model has the possibility of solving, the article said.

At the same time, the power batteries are increasingly owned by the leading enterprises and this is also expected to solve the battery swap standardization problem.

Like charging stations, through big data operation in the future, battery swap stations will also become an important part of energy internet and smart city construction, the article said.

According to another article, CATL, NIO, Guotai Junan and Hubei Science and Technology Investment Group jointly invested in Wuhan Weineng Battery Asset Co. to launch NIO battery leasing service and promote the battery swap model.

Through the continuous iteration of technology, battery swap is not only "fast", but also can create a full-scene energy supply service solution for users, according to the article.

Below are the translated versions of the two articles.

Article 1: Battery swap model is the next big opportunity of new energy vehicles

Although electrification has long been an irreversible trend, the road to EV development still faces issues of used vehicle transaction value, battery safety and charging convenience.

In order to overcome these "mountains", extended-range, plug-in hybrid, fast-charging, battery swap and other modes have emerged one after another, among which the recent hot battery swap modelis expected to become the next "windfall" of new energy vehicles.

According to estimation, it takes 6 to 8 hours to fully charge an electric car in slow charging mode, and it is inconvenient for car owners without private charging piles to use slow charging. And frequent fast charging is not conducive to extend battery life.

According to industry insiders, battery swap mode's replenishment process is faster than refueling, and it doesn't need to occupy parking spaces for a long time. By separating the value of the body and the battery, the threshold for consumers to buy is lowered, and the problem of low second-hand transaction value of new energy vehicles can also be solved. The unified management of the battery, centralized slow charging, can effectively ensure charging safety and battery life, as well as help balance the high load in normal times and the low load at night in the city grid.

Xu Haidong, assistant secretary-general of China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said that separating the body and battery can indeed solve a series of problems such as long charging time, battery degradation and recycling of current EVs.

Zhang Yongwei, secretary-general and chief expert of China EV 100, also believes that the power battery has three characteristics of mobility, separability and controllability, which can be derived in many forms. After separating the body from the battery, enterprises can build a mobile power grid to operate and manage the power battery pack, and flexibly select a new battery or a graded battery according to users' needs.

In fact, the battery swap model is not new, Israel's new energy car company Better Place and the U.S. new energy car company Tesla have tried, but both failed, Better Place even declared bankruptcy and liquidation.

Why has the battery swap model become popular again in China?

The reason for this, before the failure of foreign enterprises because of the initial one-time investment and technical standards are not perfect, but the rapid development of China's new energy vehicle technology so that the cost down significantly, so that the economic problem of the battery swap modelhas the possibility of solving. At the same time, the power battery more and more to the head of the enterprise also makes battery swap modelstandardization problem is expected to crack.

More importantly, China's strong support and encouragement of the new energy vehicle industry, so that new technologies, new models open up a wealth of imagination.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has publicly stated that charging and battery swap are the energy supplement of electric vehicles, each has its own applicable fields and market segments. Because the new energy vehicle industry as a whole is still in the early stage, technology routes, business models are in the development of change, encourage relevant enterprises to explore innovation, develop charging and battery swap technology, explore business model innovation.

With the new energy vehicle battery swap model related policies have been issued, since 2020, many new energy vehicle upstream and downstream companies and capital began to pour into this market.

Including NIO, BAIC New Energy, Chang'an New Energy, Geely Automobile, Aulton New Energy, Botan Technology, CATL, BAIC, Softbank, etc. have been deployed. Geely announced that it plans to build 5,000 battery swap stations by 2025, covering the whole country and even Southeast Asia.

Capital and industry chain companies have joined, so that the battery swap model will probably usher in a backlash. And as more car companies may switch to the battery swap model, a market power struggle is about to begin.

Although most automakers are still focusing on their own brand's battery swap service, Changan New Energy has announced at the completion of its first battery swap station that through cooperation with CATL, the battery swap station will be compatible with the battery swap services of seven major OEMs such as Guangzhou Automobile, SAIC and FAW Hongqi, which means it will have more turnaround and profitability.

Zhejiang University School of Energy Engineering, Zhejiang University Institute of Power Machinery and Vehicle Engineering, deputy director Zhu Shaopeng has said, battery swap station is written in the government work report, indicates that it will gradually become an important energy supply of new energy vehicles. The future it will attract more capital to enter, the emergence of more battery swap modelinnovation, battery swap modelto become a wind mouth is inevitable, just this wind mouth is late.

It is worth noting that, like charging stations, the future through big data operation, battery swap station will also become an important part of the energy Internet, smart city construction.

Undoubtedly, the rapid evolution of technology makes the development of new energy vehicles full of many possibilities, and this is precisely the biggest charm of the new energy vehicle industry.

Article 2: New energy cars power up on battery swap model

In the recently released New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan (2021-2035), "accelerate the construction of charging and battery swap infrastructure, and encourage the development of battery swap modelapplication" has become a highlight.

In fact, battery swap modelis not a new concept, compared with charging mode has many advantages, but there are also limitations and deficiencies in the development process.

With the rapid development of new energy vehicle industry, battery swap modelhas ushered in a new development opportunity. How to give full play to the advantages of battery swap mode, make up for its shortcomings, and bring more convenient experience for consumers has become the focus of attention from all walks of life.

Battery swap modelushers in new opportunities

Battery swap modelis to separate the electric car and battery, when the vehicle is low on battery, go to the battery swap station to replace a fully charged battery. Compared with the charging mode, the speed of recharging is its outstanding advantage.

With the rapid development of new energy vehicles, since this year, the battery swap modelhas been high enthusiasm, favorable policies have been released, many enterprises also began to increase the business layout in the field of battery swap.

In April this year, the national new energy vehicle financial subsidies policy is clear, in order to encourage the development of new business model battery swap, battery swap modelvehicles are not subject to "new energy passenger car before subsidies must be below 300,000 yuan" regulation restriction.

In May, in the Chinese government work report, the battery swap station was included in the new infrastructure category for the first time.

In July, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology clearly pointed out that it should continue to vigorously promote the construction of charging and battery swap infrastructure for new energy vehicles, improve relevant technical standards and management policies, encourage enterprises to explore the "body and battery separation" model, accelerate the interoperability of charging and battery swap facilities, and support Beijing, Hainan and other places to carry out pilot promotion.

In this context, many car companies have also increased investment in battery swap mode.

As the earliest domestic auto company to make large-scale investment and actual operation in new energy vehicle battery swap mode, BAIC New Energy's battery swap station has undergone several upgrades.

Up to now, BAIC New Energy has built 209 battery swap stations in 19 cities across the country; a total of 18,600 vehicles have been launched, 6.67 million battery swaps have been conducted and the total battery swap mileage is 964 million kilometers.

With the improvement of technology, the area of a single battery swap station of BAIC New Energy has been reduced to 70 square meters, and the battery swap time has been reduced to less than 3 minutes, which is faster than the refueling speed of fuel vehicles.

The battery swap station of BAIC New Energy 3.0 is operated on the battery swap device and the cloud platform, which takes only 1 minute, and the battery fitting rate is greatly improved.

In terms of economy, taking taxis in the public transportation sector as an example, after Beijing taxis adopted the battery swap model, the average daily order number increased by 25%, the operating mileage increased by 38%, and the drivers' income increased by 30%.

In addition to BAIC, CATL, NIO, Guotai Junan and Hubei Science and Technology Investment Group jointly invested and established Wuhan Weineng Battery Asset Co.

As a matter of fact, battery swap has been proposed since the early stage of new energy vehicle development, but eventually the charging mode became the mainstream. Until the launch of the new energy vehicle subsidy policy, the body and battery separation of many advantages emerged, and gradually become the mainstream of domestic and foreign pure electric vehicle energy solutions.

The deputy secretary-general of the China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance, Prince Dong, believes that battery swap is not a newly emerged concept. The charging anxiety of new energy vehicles is an important factor that prevents consumers from buying new energy vehicles. And the solution is no more than two, one is to shorten the charging time, is fast-charging; another basic starting point is to solve the rapid replenishment of electric vehicle energy, is the battery swap.

At the same time, through the continuous iteration of technology, battery swap is not only "fast", but also can create a full-scene energy supply service solution for users.

Two problems constrain the "body and battery separation" model

Power battery is the largest part of the cost of pure electric vehicles, if the battery is leased to the owner when purchasing the car, the burden of purchasing the car can be reduced.

At the same time, battery swap's "body and battery separation" model can not only improve the problem of short range and slow charging, but also reduce resource waste, extend battery life, and promote the standardization, gradient development and recycling of power batteries.

However, there are also bottlenecks in the process of promoting battery swap mode. The inconsistency of battery standards is a major obstacle to the development of battery swap station. The electric car technology and battery standards vary greatly from one car company to another, and car companies are reluctant to share technical standards, battery swap industry is still in the state of everyone between enterprises for their own.

In this regard, experts say, standardization is the basis of battery swap modellarge area use. New energy vehicle products on the market is more and more abundant, and the size, performance and other aspects of the car is different, corresponding to the replacement of the battery is not the same. Therefore, to promote the expansion of new energy vehicles battery swap mode, the standardization of the power battery is the first problem that must be solved.

"The battery is the most core part of the electric car, the battery management is also the core technology of the car company, after standardization of the OEM's technical advantage is gone." Li Yujun, technical director of Beijing New Energy Vehicle Co. and executive vice president of the Engineering Research Institute, said.

He said that before the charging infrastructure is mostly enterprises themselves in the exploration, and each company's technical route and the understanding of the user experience is different, undoubtedly affects can be more battery swap pool package versatility and battery swap station versatility, battery swap modelstandardization is not easy.

Another constraint is the problem of economics. At present, the investment of a single battery swap station is about 3 million RMB, if the capacity of the battery swap station needs to be increased, the investment will be bigger.

Moreover, the electricity and land prices vary from place to place, making it more difficult to ensure that the battery swap station will eventually make a profit.

"Beijing battery swap station economy is not high, there are many factors such as expensive land prices, electricity prices. But in Guangzhou and Xiamen, electricity prices are cheap, especially in Xiamen where the area is small and the operation is good," Li Yujun said.

Industry insiders said that whether it is the vehicle holder, battery swap operator, or the battery holder, whether it can survive in this ecology is the key to the sustainability of the battery swap model.

It is noteworthy that, battery swap operators in battery step utilization exploration has not yet formed scale, and can not feed the purchase cost of the power battery.

The future of battery swap model can be expected

"The battery swap model is now more promising for success than it was 10 years ago." Li Yujun said that with the increase in battery energy density, batteries are now cheaper. At the same time, the energy consumption of the whole car keeps dropping. The original BAC EV200 had the potential to do 16 degrees of electricity per 100 kilometers, but now the EU5 has dropped to about 12 degrees. Furthermore, battery costs and vehicle energy consumption continue to drop, which will help the battery swap modelcontinue to improve economy.

The industry is also actively exploring solutions to the problems with the battery swap model.

For battery standardization, in August this year, by BAIC new energy, NIO lead drafting "electric vehicle battery swap safety requirements" recommended national standards through the review.

As for the bottleneck of profitability, on the one hand, through the battery pack platform, universal development, can realize the compatibility of different models, different battery technology route, to achieve the goal of scale down this; on the other hand, around the whole life cycle of the power battery to promote the gradual utilization of decommissioned battery, improve the utilization rate of decommissioned battery pack, improve product economics.

Li Yujun believes that the future market of battery swap is still very optimistic. BAIC New Energy will strengthen the layout of the battery swap industry in the future, and plans to put 82 high-end battery swap stations in 5 provinces. it will also cooperate with partners in the field of battery swap, including cooperation with the State Grid Electric Vehicle Company, and strive to build 100 battery swap stations by the end of June 2021! battery swap stations, serving no less than 10,000 battery swap-enabled vehicles nationwide.

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