What is Battery Swapping and How is It Relevant Today?

Published on 28th February 2022

Batteries are one of the most important and expensive components in an electric vehicle, which is why battery swapping could play a huge role in the future of EVs. And why should we care? In this post, we’ll explore what battery swapping is, how it works, why it’s relevant today, and much more.


Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles have to make way for environment-friendly electric vehicles (EVs) for a brighter, greener, and sustainable future. But, the adoption of electric vehicles isn’t easy. Especially when charging the EV battery isn’t as fast as filling the gas tank. 


This is where the amazing technique of battery swapping comes into play, where customers can exchange depleted batteries for fully charged ones. Furthermore, the fact that a battery swapping service can be as cheap and quick as filling a petrol tank adds the cherry on top of the ice cream.


A Brief History of Battery Swapping


We can trace the history of battery swapping to Better Place, an Israel-based company founded in 2007 by Shai Agassi. When battery charging was still in its infancy, battery swapping technology was as promising and futuristic as it is now. But, the swap stations were four times more expensive than their expected costs. Although a greatly promising venture, Better Place crumbled before celebrating its sixth anniversary. 


A similar tale of failure awaited battery swapping at Tesla. Elon Musk tried out the newer technology on Model S in the United States with only 90 seconds to swap an EV battery. However, Elon Musk soon discovered that battery swapping wasn’t working out well among Tesla customers. Tesla commented that battery swapping is “riddled with problems and not suitable for wide-scale use.” So, they dropped the project and went ahead with superchargers.


Fast forward to 2022, and we get to see a completely different picture. NIO and Gogoro succeeded where Better Place and Tesla had failed, contributing heavily to China’s ascent as the world’s leading EV market. Now, NIO has more than 500 battery swap stations in China and is planning to build more. NIO also reports that its customers have completed more than 4 million battery swaps.


Why Swap Batteries?


Electric vehicles are not new to the roads. And major EV companies such as Tesla have already tested and rejected battery swapping technology, opting for battery recharging stations instead. So, why swap batteries?


Battery swapping is the most popular alternative to charging stations. The latter, admittedly, takes more time. But not everybody can afford 7-8 hours of charging time per 500 miles—especially drivers in commercial fleet companies such as Uber and Lyft.


The benefits of battery swapping include decreased charging time, reduced consumer anxiety in battery life, and increased range. Battery swapping technology allows customers to carry on their journeys within 10 minutes. With continued innovations in battery swapping technology, the battery swapping time would only decrease.


Battery swapping has become a common practice in industries where batteries are used regularly in industrial vehicles, such as electric forklifts. It eliminates the need to wait for batteries to charge, and it also reduces the amount of time that the battery is not in use.


Furthermore, battery swapping proves better for batteries as they are charged slowly in the swap stations. Compared to supercharging, which degrades batteries rapidly, battery swapping makes batteries last longer. 


Battery swapping technology has been challenging on the economic front. The startup cost required to install a battery-swapping station is very high. But it needn’t be anymore. The standardization of the battery swapping system and the success of renewable energy in the long term are powerful incentives for sticking to battery swapping technology.


What is Battery Swapping and How Does It Work?


In short, a customer can quickly replace a depleted battery with a fully charged one from a battery swap station. With the latest battery swap stations being fully automated, the exchange process is over within a few minutes. 


For a longer answer, let us go through the intricacies of battery swapping technology. We’ll also analyze the benefits and downsides of battery swapping and its future outlook.


Battery swapping stations have been built and proven successful in eastern markets like China and Taiwan. Gogoro and NIO are two pioneering battery swapping EV makers, and they use a business model labeled BAAS (Battery-as-a-Service). As a result, vehicle owners can swap their batteries for electric cars within a few minutes and in even less time for electric scooters.


Battery-as-a-Service means that the ownership of batteries remains with the EV makers. This means that customers needn’t pay for the battery when purchasing an electric vehicle. While BAAS comes at a monthly battery service charge premium, it significantly reduces the electric vehicle’s purchasing cost (reduces the cost of ownership). Considering the fact that a battery costs up to 30% of an EV, BAAS lowers the purchase amount significantly for customers. In addition, customers can also opt for a pay-per-swap model. Hence, more customers can afford an electric vehicle and thus contribute toward a sustainable future.


Broadly, we can categorize the EV industry into:


  • Light EVs
  • Commercial Light-duty EVs
  • Light-duty EVs
  • Heavy-duty EVs


Light EVs include mopeds, motorcycles, and scooters.


Commercial Light-duty EVs refer to taxis and other fleet vehicles.


Light-duty EVs are privately owned light motor vehicles such as sedans and SUVs. 


Heavy-duty EVs encompass large vans and trucks, usually used for long hauls. 


Commercial light-duty EVs would be the ones to get most impacted by battery swapping technology. The growth of Gogoro in becoming the world’s largest battery-swapping network demonstrates that light EVs, too, are all ready to turn green. They promise that a customer can swap batteries within seconds!


Light-duty EVs are where customers would generally prefer charging over battery swapping. But why? Simply put, a customer who can afford a Tesla can also afford an overnight charging station nearby home or an additional ICE car.


But, this scenario is about to change. With the fast-growing technology, investments, and surge in demand, electric cars will get cheaper and more people can afford them. 


EV companies can expand their offerings and reach more areas following government-approved battery swapping policy implementation.


Moreover, EV users can spot the nearest battery swap station and change their batteries using a mobile application.


One disadvantage of battery swapping is its high startup cost. Building an automated battery swap station can cost ten times as it takes to construct a fast-charging station.


On the other hand, battery swapping is highly advantageous when it comes to speed and convenience. It only takes a few minutes for a battery swap.


Now, let us see the major companies that use battery swapping for a better tomorrow.


Champions of Battery Swapping—Major EV Companies


Although battery swapping had a slow start, it soon turned green (no pun intended) and revolutionized the EV industry. Let’s check the major EV companies with expertise in battery swapping technology.



Ample’s mission is to provide electric mobility powered by 100% renewable energy as fast, convenient, and cheap as its fossil fuel counterparts. They believe that transition to cleaner energy is one of the major challenges of the twenty-first century.


In the United States, Ample has been working with Uber since 2020 to support Uber’s global electrification strategy.  


With future-proof modular batteries that can adapt to any EV, Ample plans to expand their fully automated, compact battery swap stations.



Aulton New Energy Automotive Technology Co., Ltd. is a Chinese company that focuses on battery swapping technology.


Recently, British Petroleum (BP) has partnered with Aulton to provide battery swapping services in the Guangdong province.



Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) is a Chinese battery manufacturing and technology company. Founded in 2011, CATL is committed to providing solutions and services for new energy applications worldwide.


Recently, CATL launched its battery swapping solution called EVOGO. CATL’s innovative modular battery swap solution will initially be available in ten select cities. The solution includes fast swap stations, battery blocks, and an app.


Geely Auto

Another Chinese company, Geely Auto Group, was founded in 1997 as a Zhejiang Geely Holding Group subsidiary. Geely Auto has grown to be China’s leading privately owned automotive brand. Their vision is to make refined cars for everyone.



Revolutionizing battery technology, Gogoro is one of the world’s largest networks of battery swapping. Based in Taiwan, Gogoro’s mission is to make portable power (electric) accessible to every rider in urban areas of the world. 


After a resounding success in Taiwan, Gogoro plans to transform India’s growing automobile market’s focus to renewable energy through a strategic partnership with Hero Motocorp. The latter is the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters in terms of unit volumes sold by a single company in a year.


This partnership is truly exciting for EV enthusiasts!



KYMCO is yet another company at the top of the list of EV owners. KYMCO rivals the Gogoro network of electric scooters with its Ionex Recharge, the world’s first personalized energy replenishing service, providing customers with on-demand battery delivery and battery replacement.


Sustainability is at the heart of KYMCO’s every action, and they’re truly transforming the world into a better place.



Founded in 2014, NIO is a leading EV company based in China. NIO splendidly demonstrated a better alternative to fast charging through their battery-swapping cars. 


NIO is partnering with CATL to provide BAAS (Battery-as-a-Service) to its fleets of EV cars—another promising partnership for a sustainable future.



Yadea is a high-end electric two-wheeler manufacturer spanning more than 80 countries. Yadea integrates with big companies such as CATL to create a prudent future.



So, yes, battery swapping is relevant today. It is a promising technology that could help overcome the limitations of electric vehicles. 


Battery swapping is fast, efficient, and convenient to get an EV back on the road, especially during a long trip. Furthermore, battery swapping could help reduce emissions, increase the adoption of electric vehicles, and potentially alleviate range anxiety.


However, some obstacles must be overcome before it can be widely adopted, such as the cost of battery swapping stations, battery standardization, and the development of new batteries that can withstand multiple swaps.


Battery swapping might not be a viable solution right now, but this technology is only getting better. We can expect many more advancements in the coming years, and they will likely pick up steam. Stay posted for updates as we move closer to a greener future.

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