Battery replacement in electric cars: a better alternative to recharging?

Battery replacement in electric cars: a better alternative to recharging?

Battery replacement in electric cars

The diffusion of electric cars is still limited in some respects. In addition to the price of zero-emission models, which is still much higher (all other factors being equal) than the price of petrol and diesel cars, there are still other unresolved issues. One of these is the recharging of the battery of electric cars, both as regards the limited diffusion of the columns and the long times of "refueling". The combination of these two elements also translates into a limited spread of fast charging stations.

The four-wheeler sector is adapting and evaluating alternatives to make the transition to electric, unavoidable in Europe after the stop, sustainable the sale of petrol and diesel cars set for 2035. In addition to recharging the batteries, in fact, in the future of electric cars there is also the possibility of replacing the batteries, a procedure also known as "swap", which would make it possible to eliminate some problems related to zero-emission models in the near future.

Battery recharging could coexist with battery replacement, also known as “battery swap”, as a way to restore the autonomy of an electric car. The two systems have advantages and disadvantages. For the moment, the four-wheeler market seems to be directed towards the creation of a battery recharging infrastructure, but the "swap stations", or stations for battery replacement, could see a significant spread in the near future. Here are all the details:

How electric car charging works

Electric car charging is really simple and intuitive. Like any device with an integrated battery, in fact, even electric cars must be connected to a power outlet in order to restore the electrical energy stored in the battery that will have to support the (electric) motor to ensure the operation of the car and of the board.

There is also the possibility of charging the electric car through a public column. In this case, it is necessary to go with your car to the recharging station, exactly as it happens for refueling, and connect it to the available column. There are numerous companies on the market that provide charging services for electric cars through special charging stations.

It must also be considered that the actual cost of recharging electric cars, especially as regards public stations, can be influenced by various factors. In particular, fast charging is generally more expensive than charging with standard speed which, however, entails a considerable lengthening of refueling times. In any case, net of different charging costs and times, the charging system of an electric car is substantially standardized.

What are the problems of charging electric cars

The recharging electric cars is one of the factors that has the greatest impact on the slow spread of zero-emission vehicles. Currently, in fact, the number of public charging stations is still limited. The charging infrastructure is not yet able to support a complete and immediate electrification of the four-wheeler sector, both in Italy and, differently from country to country, in the rest of Europe.

In EU , in any case, with the stop to sales of petrol and diesel cars set for 2035, it will be necessary to record a decisive acceleration of the growth program in the number of recharging stations. Only with the increase in the number of recharging points, especially in densely populated areas, will it be possible to make the transition from petrol and diesel to electric cars sustainable within a few years.

Extending the recharging times of the electric car battery can, therefore , be a problem in different contexts of use. Unlike refueling, which takes a few minutes to fill up, fully recharging the electric car can take tens of minutes or a few hours. For medium / long distances, therefore, thinking about setting off having to take into account several prolonged stops to recharge the car certainly does not represent a plus for zero-emission mobility.

How does the replacement

The principle of operation of the battery replacement system of electric cars is very simple. As the name of this operation suggests, in fact, the electric car battery is not recharged by the motorist but is replaced by a new battery, already charged and ready for use, reducing the time needed to restore autonomy. of operation of the car.

The replacement of the battery of electric cars therefore provides for the possibility of circumventing the problem of recharging, in particular of recharging times, with a different approach. The zero-emission car can go to a special replacement station where a fully automated mechanism changes the battery with a new unit that is 100% compatible with the car.

Differently than the more traditional battery charging of electric cars, battery replacement is still an uncommon option. However, several companies attempting this path are trying to create an alternative to recharging to solve the problems. This is the case of the Chinese NIO, which already has a very widespread network of "replacement stations" in China and aims to expand also in Europe, with the creation of a production plant, not for cars but for battery replacement stations.

The battery replacement system does not therefore provide the motorist with the ownership of a single battery pack. In fact, with each replacement operation, a new battery already charged is installed on the vehicle against payment of a contribution established by the service provider.

The advantages of replacement

Replace the battery instead of recharging it directly, it opens the door to a series of advantages which, in the future, could make this solution a concrete alternative to recharging at a public column. Replacing the battery with an already charged unit allows, in fact, to significantly reduce the time needed to restore the autonomy of the car, avoiding one of the main problems of recharging electric cars, at least to date.

C 'is another advantage to consider. Replacing the battery, in fact, opens the door to the possibility of increasing the range of electric cars according to the needs of the moment. For example, before a journey of several hundred kilometers, a range may opt to replace the battery with a unit with a larger capacity, capable of offering a longer range to the car.

Online di therefore, the replacement of the battery of an electric car can offer greater flexibility, proposing a solution to the problems that still plague the traditional charging system of electric cars. This is an alternative that, over the years, could carve out a space in the four-wheeler sector. The critical issues to be solved, also in this case, are different.

The infrastructure, consisting of the "substitution stations", is all to be built (unlike the columns which are already, at least in part, present on the territory). It will also be necessary to define battery compatibility criteria, involving several manufacturers in a project of this type to encourage the adoption of this system as an alternative solution to recharging.

The spread of electric cars on a global scale. (and particularly in Europe) poses a large number of challenges and issues to be solved. Battery replacement may represent one of the solutions to be put into practice to ensure a simpler transition to zero-emission mobility over the next few years.

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