CATL launches universal EVOGO battery swap service that can be used by most electric cars on the market
The world's largest electric car battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), took to the stage to announce the launch of its new EV battery swap service EVOGO. China's buoyant EV market is not only churning out successful electric car startups by the dozen, but also pioneering innovative battery technologies and charging solutions. The up-and-coming XPeng, for instance, has 180kW superchargers there, while CATL's solid-state battery development frenemy NIO has been building a battery swap network for its vehicles for a while, with the first station outside of China already operational in Norway. NIO had a muted reaction to CATL's swap service launch, saying that it's an endorsement of its battery swap model that will ease the transition to ultrafast-charging batteries and their stations buildout.
CATL's EVOGO network of battery swap stations will use an intriguing new concepts that the company calls battery blocks. The so-called Choco-SEB (swapping electric block) developed by CATL is a unit with high energy density and compact design that can be arranged freely in multiple combinations. The SEBs use CATL's new cell-to-pack technology that allow them to store 160Wh/kg or 325Wh/L in energy density, enough to provide a 125-mile (200km) range on a freshly charged block. CATL has ensured that the blocks have only two high-voltage external connections to increase reliability, with all the rest of the SEB communication and input done via its wireless BMS technology.
The beauty of the SEB concept is that EV owners can rent one, two, or more units at a time via the EVOGO app, and it only takes a minute per SEB to swap them. One EVOGO swap station takes about three regular parking spaces and can contain up to 48 swapping electric block batteries. The streamlined size and shape of the SEB means that they can be adapted for use in 80% of the electric cars currently on the market, says CATL, as well as the ones that are three years down the line from now. The charged battery swap blocks can thus be rented on a regular basis by drivers with electric vehicles from different carmakers, including logistics fleets, and CATL said it will be adding different SEB features in the future.