Battery swapping

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation

Innovation 2


Instead of charging the battery in a vehicle, battery swapping replaces empty battery packs with fully charged packs. For swapping to work, battery packs must be easily accessible and replaceable. Swapping also is easiest when batteries are lightweight, as in electric two- and three-wheelers. For heavier vehicles, battery swapping is more complicated, requiring a mechanic’s assistance.

The battery swapping model requires the removed battery packs to be recharged. This greatly increases the number of battery packs that must be in circulation, raising the overall costs.


Battery packs are the most expensive component of EVs, representing about one-third of the total cost of the vehicle, and they degrade over time. Outsourcing batteries’ maintenance and replacement can therefore reduce costs for EV drivers and owners. In some cases, it also replaces potentially long charging times with quick swaps, which could be especially useful for fleet managers. Providers, meanwhile, can realise revenues not only from swap customers, but also from the services offered to the grid using the batteries stored at swapping points.

BOX 3.28 Battery swapping for two- and three-wheelers in Taiwan and Ample, a US-based battery swapping start-up

Gogoro, a Taiwanese manufacturer, and Panasonic have made portable lithium-ion batteries for two- and threewheelers that are available for swapping in vending machines in Asia. The business model includes a fee for using the swapping stations (Gogoro, 2022).

Ample, a San Francisco-based start-up, plans to outfit vehicles with its modular battery packs, which can be swapped at dedicated stations, which are fully automated and can identify the exact location of the battery module to be swapped. Their batteries can be scaled easily based on “Lego-like” modules, which makes it possible for the company to expand rapidly (ample, 2022).

BOX 3.29 Battery swapping pilot project for heavy trucks in China

As part of the National Energy Group’s “electric heavy truck green transportation pilot project”, two battery swapping stations, which can serve 100 heavy trucks, were built. The green electricity generated by distributed photovoltaic in this project directly provides power supply to the battery swapping stations. Vehicles can realise automatic battery swapping within 3-5 minutes. The project is expected to reduce the regional transport logistics cost by 5-10%, cause annual average carbon dioxide emission reductions of 137 000 tons and lead to a decrease of 1 730 tons in emissions.

Source: (CHN Energy, 2022).