Is battery swapping really the solution for fast charging?
The need of speed and the lack of time is omnipresent in our current situation. So to pace up the charging time in electric vehicles many owners might opt to interchange batteries with fully charged ones. On the surface it appears as a wonderful idea which counters most of the drawbacks of an EV. One just has to drive into a battery swapping center, the swap happens quickly and then he can drive away.
But the cons of battery swapping may actually weigh more than the pros.
Some of the cons can be listed as :
1: Battery swapping needs *extensive infrastructure* country wide ( if we limit ourselves to India), which in turn requires a rock solid b-plan as well as a quite substantial capital investment. Moreover to keep the batteries fully charged, the swapping station requires same power and time as the charging stations.
Whereas charging stations require less planning and investment as they are very similar to diesel or petrol refilling stations. So effectively the set up of swapping stations will cost more than that of charging stations.
2: *Battery compatibility and avaibility* serve to reduce the scope of battery swapping. Not all vehicles are compatible to high powered battery packs or low powered battery packs. To make battery swapping a viable mean, cross platform compatibility is necessary which can limit a company’s design to a great extent.
3: Regular swapping of batteries will no doubt cause *degradation in battery performance* over time. This can result in variations in performance in batteries obtained from swapping stations. An user then cannot predict the range the swapped battery will provide. Furthermore swapping with cause hardware degradation sooner than charging . This adds to the maintenance cost of an ev.
4: An owner can obviously purchase batteries for his Ev and use them by swapping. Studies show that average traversal of a vehicle in India is 40 km per day with a frequency of 226 days per year. Rest of the time the car remains idle and this time is sufficient for 3.5-8hrs charging. Moreover *GST on an EV along with battery suffices a 5% tax whereas batteries alone have 18% GST*.
From the above comparative study, one can understand that the gross ownership cost is lower in a charging system than a swapping system . Apart from cost, the range difference is also clear. Thus one can conclude that battery swapping is not a rational means for recharging EV’s. Yet an additional battery pack can be used to swap the old one in needs of emergency or when time is of essence. Therefore to make the best out of an EV both battery charging and swapping should exist simultaneously and be applied as deemed suitable or necessary.