The number of cars and trucks with an interchangeable battery is rising rapidly in China. This is evident from research conducted by the Sweden-China Bridge Research Project at the University of Halmstad. Especially the development in trucks is spectacular. The first pilot project was only two years ago, and by September this year almost all truck manufacturers had offers in this direction. The pipeline of orders for trucks with interchangeable batteries reached 15,000 in the first half of this year.

It is expected, the university says, that the market will continue to grow exponentially over the coming years, especially now that major Chinese truck makers SAIC, FAW and Dongfeng have also stepped in.

National strategy

The growth is not coming out of the blue. Cars with removable batteries and the accompanying infrastructure, are part of China’s national strategy. It is seen as an important complement to charging via a cable.

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There are now 600 stations for passenger cars where batteries can be replaced. This is still not much for such a gigantic country like China, but its ambitions are huge. The goal is to increase the number to 25,000 battery exchange stations by 2025.

For trucks, the total is just 23 stations, but an additional 32 stations are under construction. If all goes according to plan, 400 more will be added during the rest of the year.

5 minutes

One of the advantages for customers is that they no longer have to buy the battery themselves. The purchase price of an electric car or truck can be lowered as a result. Exchanging the batteries can be done very quickly as it takes about 5 minutes for a truck, much faster than charging via a cable.

According to Halmstad University, the battery life is also increased by about 20% due to a better charging process. Regular professional inspection also makes it safer.

EU

The Sweden-China Bridge Research Project, according to Professor Mike Danilovic of Halmstad University, is meant as a way to learn from each other how to electrify transport in the best way possible. This applies to technology, organizational and commercial aspects.

He is surprised that exchangeable batteries are still hardly a topic in the European Union. Danilovic thinks the technology is almost inevitable if you want to make all modes of transport electric.

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About the author

Author profile picture Maurits Kuypers graduated as a macroeconomist from the University of Amsterdam, specialising in international work. He has been active as a journalist since 1997, first for 10 years on the editorial staff of Het Financieele Dagblad in Amsterdam, then as a freelance correspondent in Berlin and Central Europe. When it comes to technological innovations, he always has an eye for the financial feasibility of a project.