CATL Signs Battery Swap Agreement With Guizhou province

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Most CleanTechnica readers probably think battery swapping is an idea whose time has come and gone. There may not be any battery swapping stations in the US, but there are plenty of them in China and, thanks to Nio, a few of them are popping up in Norway as well. No doubt Europe will see more of them before long.

Until now, only EV manufacturers have promoted the idea of battery swap stations, but CnEVPost reports battery manufacturer CATL has signed a partnership agreement with Guizhou Province in southwest China that will lead to the creation of a battery swap network in that region. CATL and the Guizhou provincial government signed the agreement on December 24 in Guiyang, the province’s capital, according to an announcement from the battery maker.

CATL and the provincial government will cooperate in the construction of a network of battery swap facilities for electric cars, work to improve the battery swap capacity in the province, and promote the development of the electric car industry, CATL said. It is unclear whether CATL will build its own brand of battery swap stations directly or work with other battery swap operators such as Nio. There is a possibility the intent of the partnership is to service the taxi industry in the province. CnEVPost says an image appeared on social media earlier this month showed that CATL already has its own brand of battery swap stations.

This is not the first time CATL has shown support for the battery swap model. Last August, Nio launched its battery as a service rental business in cooperation with Mirattery, a joint venture between CATL, Nio, and Guotai Junan International Holdings. Hubei Science Technology Investment Group is the manager of the joint venture. Nio is the largest shareholder in Mirattery, with 19.84% of the registered capital. Guotai, Hubei, and CATL all hold 13.32% of the shares.

On December 6, Nio and Sinopec Guizhou signed a cooperation agreement and put their first jointly built battery swap station in the province into operation. This is the third Nio battery swap station in Guizhou, which is a less developed region of China. At the present time, there are fewer than 10 swap stations in Guizhou.

Will we ever see battery swap stations in North America? Nio is committed to the idea and has recently advertised a few job openings in California. It has ambitions to enter the North American market and it it does, it may bring the idea of battery as a service and swap stations with it.

There are some aspects of battery swapping that make a lot of sense. It eliminates one of the fears that people considering the purchase of electric car say they worry about, namely getting stuck with a big bill to replace a battery a few years later if the one that comes with the car fails. Anything that takes away fear of the unknown is a good thing and for that reason alone, battery swapping may be a very appealing idea to some EV drivers.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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