(Yicai Global) Feb. 24 -- China’s first highway battery swap service for heavy-duty trucks plying trunk lines has officially started.
Developed by Chinese power battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology, the service covers a 175-kilometer section of highway between the cities of Ningde and Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, and went into operation on Feb. 22, Ningde-based CATL said in a statement yesterday.
The first battery swappable dump trucks co-developed by CATL and Chinese heavy machinery giant Sany Heavy Industry were also delivered yesterday, the firm said. The trucks use CATL’s large-capacity lithium iron phosphate battery and can change power packs in three to five minutes.
CATL unit Contemporary Amperex Energy Service Technology penned a deal with a unit of Fujian Expressway Group yesterday to set up a joint venture to build and run battery swap service stations in expressway service areas throughout Fujian and expand the network to neighboring provinces in the future, CATL added.
CATL chose heavy-duty trucks for battery swapping because of their high feasibility, an industry insider told Yicai Global. Commercial truck routes are fixed, making the cost of building swap stations along the routes relatively low and requiring less complicated technologies, especially for short-distance truck runs.
Heavy-duty electric trucks have a range only of about 300 km or less, the insider noted, adding that the use of swappable batteries is more efficient than charging in this case.
These battery swappable heavy-duty trucks will be fully introduced in scenarios such as trunk line transport, mining, urban infrastructure, ports, and factory logistics, CATL said.
CATL last month launched its battery swap brand Evogo, named from a combination of the words ‘evolution’ and ‘go.’ CATL unit CAES started pilot operations in 10 Chinese cities using one vehicle model from FAW Group’s Bestune marque.
China had only 1,298 battery swap facilities at the end of last year, according to data from the China Electric Vehicle Charging and Swapping Infrastructure Promotion Alliance. The market was basically divided between Chinese electric carmaker Nio and battery swap service provider Aulton New Energy Automotive Technology.
Editor: Tang Shihua, Futura Costaglione