World’s Largest Network of EV Battery Charging and Switching Stations Commences Operation in Beijing
With environmental pollution as a typical issue worldwide, China, now the largest developing country in the world, has introduced several powerful measures to address the challenge of air pollution. The measures include a plan of promoting the use of electric taxis, to reduce exhaust pollution. New energy automaker BAIC BJEV, a subsidiary of Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC Group),a company that ranks 160th among the Fortune 500, has recently delivered the first few battery-switch stations for EV taxi in Beijing. So far, the stations form the largest-scale network in the world for electric taxi battery charging and swapping. The first batch of ten battery-swap stations has commenced operation on Oct. 29th and will offer services across eight urban districts in Beijing.
“In 2016, 50 EV battery charging and switch stations will be put into operation in Beijing and are expected to address the battery-swap needs of at least 6,000 EV taxis. Taxi drivers will be able to remove the battery once it starts running out of power and replace it with a fully-charged one at the nearest station. The station locations have been planned so that drivers will not need to travel more than five kilometers for swapping battery. By the end of 2017, Beijing will be home to 200 EV battery charging and swapping stations, which will meet the requirements of 30,000 EVs. In preparation for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, BAIC BJEV will replace 50,000 existing taxis with EVs equipped with switchable batteries,” said Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC Group.
During the launch ceremony, Zhou Zhengyu, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, said, “The control of air pollution is one of our current priorities and we are focusing on reducing pollution caused by vehicle emissions through boosting the adoption of EVs. As a forward-looking company, BAIC Group has a long track record of research and practice in the field.” BAIC BJEV general manager Zheng Gang explained that as the supporting infrastructure, including the battery charging and battery switching stations, comes to maturity, the new energy automaker plans to expand its battery swapping business in the car-sharing, online car-hailing and even the private vehicle markets. He said, “We will accelerate the standardization of batteries for EVs and sharing of technologies, boost the use of the battery switching network as well as expand the related service, sharing more benefits to our partners and users in this network.”
As a key application in new energy technology, battery switching has always been in the industry’s spotlight. Several market leaders has been exploring the commercialization of battery switching services with little success due to the difficulties in industry chains integration, huge investments needed for building stations, as well as engrained user behavior. Since 2014, BAIC BJEV has been exploring ways to efficiently promote the adoption of battery switching technology and service. Over the last two years’ research and test, the company cooperated with organizations across the industry and capitalized on the favorable policies issued by the government. Today, BAIC BJEV aims to accelerate the adoption of its EV models with switchable battery and technology in cooperation with station constructors. The kick-off of this program is a milestone of the battery-switching utilization in China as well as a promising signal for its future development.