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Swapping instead of charging: technotrans is developing a cooling solution for NIO Power Swap Stations

Efficient and reliable cooling systems for battery exchange station

Exchange in a few minutes instead of long charging times: The Power Swap Station from the Chinese manufacturer NIO will come to Europe in 2022. technotrans is accompanying this debut as the exclusive partner. To cool the replaced batteries, the thermal management specialist built the prototype for the first station in Oslo and has already installed it there. By 2025, NIO plans to have 1,000 such power swap stations in Europe.

“We convinced with technical expertise and meaningful references. We are proud to be able to support this pioneering project,” says Andreas Seifert, Business Development Director at technotrans who is responsible for the Asian market. This order has the potential to be the starting signal for a long-term close cooperation with NIO.

The prototype from technotrans is already being used successfully in a power swap station from NIO. The Chinese manufacturer has set up the first station on European soil in Oslo. The reason for the choice of location is Norway’s pioneering role in terms of e-mobility and sustainability. From Scandinavia, the Chinese manufacturer plans to further develop the European market by 2025 with a total of 1,000 power swap stations. By the end of this year, 50 more systems are to be installed at various locations in Europe.

Elementary component: cooling solution from technotrans

To change the battery, users drive into the station. There, a robot equipped with state-of-the-art sensors exchanges the discharged battery for a full one. The cooling system is an elementary component for the functionality of the Power Swap Station. Without this, the batteries would overheat when charging in the station. “Every battery is different: Old, new, half-charged or completely empty batteries are accepted and charged in the station. Each battery therefore requires individual cooling,” explains Seifert.

The special requirements required a customer-specific system. technotrans proved its efficiency and developed a solution tailored precisely to this requirement. This has a CE quality seal and is characterized by up to 22 kilowatts of liquid-based cooling from a glycol-water mixture. The development started about a year ago also focused on energy efficiency. The battery exchange station is powered by the energy contained in the exchangeable batteries and thus works completely independently. The development goes even further: In the future, the entire exchange process should be completed in just three minutes instead of the previous five.

Prototype successfully installed in Oslo

“Helping to drive this innovative project of the energy turnaround in Europe forward contributes fully to our sustainability strategy,” says Michael Finger, CEO of technotrans SE. “With our cooling solutions, we are part of the electrification and thus reduction of our customers’ CO 2 footprint.” The cooperation partner for technotrans is the Shanghai-based company Swap, which specializes in the production and sale of vehicle batteries and belongs to the NIO Group.

NIO has big plans: In the future, fully automatic battery replacement will be offered in parking lots and at gas stations, for example. The company in China has shown how quickly the expansion of the network, which started in Asia in 2018, can succeed. NIO opened the 700th exchange station there at the end of 2021. On the basis of a strategic partnership with a large chain of petrol stations, the expansion is to continue to gain momentum. By 2025, a total of 100 more battery swapping stations are to be built in China. In Europe, the first pilot stations in the existing filling station network are planned for 2022. Opportunities for cooperation, among other things, in the areas of battery asset management, fleet management and battery charging stations for the home are currently being examined.

SOURCE: technotrans

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