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DIDI Ramps Up Battery Swapping Business! Collaborates with CATL as "Integrated Energy Storage and Charging" Becomes a Competitive Point for Enterprises

iconJan 30, 2024 14:58
Source:SMM
CATL stated that the joint venture will leverage the strong technical and operational capabilities of both parties, starting with ride-hailing scenarios, to provide efficient battery swapping services for numerous new energy vehicles. With the establishment of this joint venture, the two companies will work closely to rapidly scale up the deployment of battery swapping stations and promote swap-capable vehicle models, enhancing the operational efficiency of the public recharging market and fostering a green transformation in transportation.

Recently, DIDI and CATL announced the official establishment of a joint venture for battery swapping services.

CATL stated that the joint venture will leverage the strong technical and operational capabilities of both parties, starting with ride-hailing scenarios, to provide efficient battery swapping services for numerous new energy vehicles. With the establishment of this joint venture, the two companies will work closely to rapidly scale up the deployment of battery swapping stations and promote swap-capable vehicle models, enhancing the operational efficiency of the public recharging market and fostering a green transformation in transportation.

In pursuit of more details about the joint venture, "Science and Innovation Board Daily" reached out to CATL on January 29 as an investor. A representative from CATL's securities department stated, "Please refer to the official announcements for details; no further information can be disclosed."

Zhang Xiang, the New Energy Technology Research Institute at the Jiangxi New Energy Technology Vocational College, told "Science and Innovation Board Daily" reporters, "This is a partnership where the sum is greater than its parts." He analyzed, "For DIDI, there is a substantial demand for battery swapping since charging new energy vehicles is currently slow and not very powerful, leading to delays for drivers between rides. Swapping a battery only takes around 3-5 minutes. For CATL, the growth of the battery swapping business means increased demand for batteries, making it a win-win situation." Zhang Xiang further mentioned that the ride-hailing industry and battery swapping business are highly compatible. On one hand, typically ride-hailing cars need to travel 200 km per day, which entails a definite need for swapping. On the other hand, due to the initial scarcity of swapping stations, compared to individual usage, swapping is more suited for commercial scenes managed by companies. The ride-hailing industry just so happens to cover a wider range of routes, giving platforms the opportunity to set up battery swapping stations, offering drivers the most convenient and shortest distance for swaps. "Science and Innovation Board Daily" reporters noted that CATL, a leader in power batteries, has already entered the battery swapping business.

As early as 2020, CATL collaborated with Fotondi Blue New Energy to deliver swapping trucks in Beijing, marking the first commercialized application scenario for swapping trucks. In August of the same year, CATL, in partnership with NIO, China GTJA International Holdings, and Hubei Science Technology Investment Group, co-invested in establishing Wuhan Weilai Battery Asset Co., Ltd. At the same time, CATL is also one of the major shareholders of SAIC's power battery leasing joint venture company Jieneng Zhidian, alongside China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Sinopec. Additionally, CATL has invested in Chuangding Heavy Truck's "vehicle-battery separation" business model of Qiyuan Xindong Power. Besides collaborations and equity investments, in 2022 CATL independently created the battery swapping operating company TimesTech and its EVOGO swapping brand, launching the "Chocolate Swap Battery Block" with a single battery range of about 200 km. At that time, some industry insiders expected that CATL would utilize its identity as a manufacturer to produce batteries specifically designed for swapping, thus promoting the standardization of swappable batteries. According to data from the China Charging Union, as of the end of 2023, the total number of swapping stations nationwide amounted to 3567. The team at Kaiyuan Securities suggested that the battery swapping model possesses numerous advantages in terms of recharging time, reducing the cost of purchasing vehicles, extending battery life, relieving pressure on the grid, and land use efficiency. They estimate that by 2025, China's battery swapping industry chain market size is expected to reach 133.4 billion yuan. However, as someone from the new energy charging industry pointed out to "Science and Innovation Board Daily" reporters, companies are now competing mainly on "integrated battery storage and charging" rather than simply deploying swapping services. For example, apart from setting up a battery swapping joint venture, CATL has also formed a strategic partnership with DIDI's Xiaojue Energy, promoting collaboration in the wider new energy field, such as integrated energy storage and charging. Recently, NIO signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Anhui Provincial Energy Group Co., Ltd., Anhui Transportation Holdings Group Co., Ltd., and NIO Holdings Ltd., to promote the construction of an open and shared integrated storage, charging, and swapping system. According to the agreement, the joint venture company Zhong'an Energy is supported to orderly promote the construction of 1000 integrated storage-charging-swapping stations, to jointly advance the layout of an open and shared recharging network for new energy vehicles, further promoting the openness and interconnectivity of swapping stations.

In addition, the parties will collaborate in areas related to the swapping industry, including battery standards, charging-swapping technology, battery asset management and operations, new electrical power systems, and supply chains for storage-charging-swapping equipment production and manufacturing. GAC Aian, too, recently announced its construction plan for charging and swapping stations in January, aiming to build 43 supercharging and swapping centers and 477 super-fast charging piles. Furthermore, the company plans to have 2000 charging stations, 500 swapping stations, and 3 GWh of energy storage stations by 2025. [Reproduction must retain the source - Shanghai Nonferrous Metals Network] DIDI Ramps Up Battery Swapping Business! Collaborates with CATL as "Integrated Energy Storage and Charging" Becomes a Competitive Point for Enterprises.

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