Battery swap for charging: Which is better?

Electric cars are taking over the auto market faster than anyone could have expected. Electric vehicles are sold at all manufacturers, and automakers are struggling to produce enough cars to keep up with demand. But the question on everyone’s mind remains: What is the best way to charge an electric vehicle?

Well, you may not even need to charge it. There is an alternative to charging, which is to replace the battery. But what is an EV battery swap, and how does it compare to charging your traditional EV?

Charging a conventional EV battery

One of the greatest benefits of driving an electric car is that you never have to stop at a gas station unless you want to buy a snack at the convenience store. In terms of refueling, you can say goodbye to those annoying weekly stops at the gas station.

All you have to do to keep your electric vehicle running is to charge it at home. Electric vehicles include a Level 1 charger from the manufacturer, and all you have to do once you get home with your new EV is plug it into a conventional 120-volt outlet and start charging away.

A typical L1 charger, like the one you get from an electric vehicle manufacturer, will be able to recharge approximately 5 miles of range per hour. This isn’t the fastest method and will be good for about 50 miles of extra range once you get up in the morning. This is great if your daily commute is less than 50 miles, and you don’t have to worry if you need more juice.

Level 2 chargers can also be installed in homes, which operate from a 240-volt outlet. Once you have the L2 charger professionally installed in your home, you can enjoy charging speeds much faster than 120-volt level 1 charging. With an L2 charger, you can restore approximately 32 miles of range per hour of charge, according to EvoCharge.

Another way to charge your EV is with a Tier 3 quick charger or a DC fast charger. These chargers can recharge your car to 80% in about 20 minutes. Of course, this depends on your vehicle’s charging capabilities, as some vehicles can recharge faster than others, and others have a larger battery capacity.

However, these chargers are extremely fast and extremely useful in situations where you find yourself on the road, ready to travel long distances, and need to stop to recharge quickly. However, these chargers can’t be installed in your home (yet!), but they’re slowly popping up across the US (you can use an EV charging app to find one), ensuring electric vehicle drivers don’t have to worry about how far their car has gone.

What is an EV battery replacement?

Electric vehicle battery swapping is the reverse polarity of charging an electric vehicle battery through a charger or charging station. With a battery swap, you can replace your EV battery with a fully charged battery, eliminating the need to recharge your EV for extended periods.

Not only is this method extremely fast, taking about ten minutes to swap out a fully charged battery, but it’s also more environmentally friendly than generic battery charging stations. One of the great things about battery swaps is that spent batteries removed from cars are slowly shipped out by the battery swap company, and these companies can actually choose when to charge them and what type of power they are.

Because these companies, like Ample, choose when to charge their batteries, they can take advantage of clean energy sources, which isn’t always the case with public fast chargers or even home chargers. In the case of Ample, they use an innovative modular approach that replaces your vehicle’s OEM battery for their modular batteries.

Once your standard car battery runs out, all you have to do is drop in the spacious battery replacement terminal, and the entire switching process takes place independently. Ample uses robots that remove batteries from your vehicle and replace them with fully charged units.

Mass adoption of this idea is still a long way off, but this method will benefit fleets of vehicles in constant use for a company, especially because the total time to recharge the battery via switching can be much faster than recharging it. The battery receives better handling because it charges slowly instead of fast chargers. Fleets of heavy-duty vehicles, such as electric pickup trucks, are sure to benefit from a battery swap.

EV Battery Charging vs EV Battery Replacement: Which is Better?

This obviously depends entirely on the specific needs of the consumer, but there are some advantages to charging your car, as well as some great advantages to using a battery replacement. Using an electric vehicle charger is the most common way to charge your vehicle. Several companies have worked hard to build massive charging infrastructures across the United States, such as Tesla’s Supercharger or Volkswagen’s Electrify America stations.

Many consumers have also equipped their home electric vehicle by installing an L2 charger. The existing electric vehicle infrastructure ensures that you will hit one of these stations in most places you travel by car, which cannot be said of electric vehicle battery replacement stations.

Another advantage of charging is that you will most likely be doing it in your home while you sleep, which is not possible with the Switch.

That’s not to say that swapping an EV battery doesn’t have inherent advantages either. Once (and if) it becomes more widespread, the advantages may attract many people to this service, although it will require huge investments from electric car manufacturers.

Swap is much better for fleets of vehicles that need to recharge quickly and do so several times a day. Fleets like these will benefit from quick battery swaps, and their batteries will also benefit in terms of lifespan. Vehicle owners who use battery exchange stations can also rest assured that their vehicle is actually being charged with renewable energy sources because, ideally, this is where the power to charge depleted batteries will come from.

Battery charging is still the best option for charging electric vehicles — so far

Both methods have great applications for various consumers. It wouldn’t be crazy to think of a future where both technologies coexist, especially with an EV battery swap serving a more commercial customer base.

On the other hand, the average consumer will continue to enjoy using regular charging stations on their daily commute and occasionally using an EV battery swap during long trips.

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