Battery swapping has democratised EV ownership for Chinese consumers

Why has battery swapping become a more popular alternative to plug-ins? By Christopher Dyer

An International Energy Agency study into worldwide electric vehicle (EV) adoption during the pandemic suggests that Chinese consumers now own an estimated 45% of all EVs on the road, with pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounting for 80% of new Chinese vehicles registered in 2020. One of the key factors contributing to China’s uptake of electric alternatives has been the introduction of battery swapping technology.

China’s new vehicle market: prospects to 2026 and beyond





Swapping has had a difficult past, with unsuccessful early efforts to implement the technology by major manufacturers such as Tesla and Renault. But increased investment from automakers like Nio and third-party manufacturers like CATL-backed EVOGO has seen battery swapping become cheaper to implement and more accessible to consumers,  Battery swapping constitutes part of China’s “2030 green economy” plan, making up a broader strategy employed by the Chinese government to realise a full transition to EVs and a total sales ban of internal combustion engines (ICEs) by 2035. With additional encouragement to adopt the technology from the Chinese government, its popularity has continued to develop, meaning business models around EV battery subscriptions are becoming increasingly profitable.

Nio battery swap
With heightened investment from automakers like Nio, battery swapping has become cheaper and more accessible for Chinese consumers

Exploring the infrastructural limitations to conventional EVs, the economic ramifications for consumers and the effect enhanced support for the technology has been having on manufacturers could help illustrate how the divisive technology has effectively carved a market share into China's EV markets.

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