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    Will China’s drive for swappable electric car batteries work?

    Tesla dismissed the alternate path of electric car battery changing a year ago, calling it “riddled with issues and unsuitable for widespread usage.” Beijing, it appears, disagrees. In reality, China is pushing hard for swappable batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) as a supplement to regular vehicle charging, with the government backing many companies who are working on the technology.

    By 2025, four businesses — automakers Nio and Geely, battery swap developer Aulton, and state-owned oil producer Sinopec – want to install a total of 24,000 swap stations around the country, up from around 1,400 now.

    Even little changes in the country’s fortunes can have major ramifications for these carmakers, whose fates are dependent on success in the world’s largest car market.

    The Chinese swapping plans, which have been announced piecemeal in recent weeks and months but are little known outside the domestic auto sector, are part of Beijing’s larger plan to make 25% of car sales fully electric by 2025, or more than 6 million passenger vehicles, according to current projections. The number of devices with swappable batteries is estimated to be in the millions.

    A request for more information regarding China’s battery swapping plan was not immediately responded to by the Ministry of Industry and Information (MIIT), which is a strong backer of the practice.

    Such intentions contradict those of Tesla, the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer, which denied the possibility of large-scale battery swapping in China in March 2021. It tried exchanging in the United States a long time ago and gave up.

    Industry executives are split on whether China’s drive will be enough to persuade European and American manufacturers to ditch their proprietary battery designs in favour of standardised ones.

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