NEWS - 2023/05/02

Revolutionizing Battery Usage with a Scalable Swapping Infrastructure

Battery-swapping system

Sustainable transportation has become more important than ever. E-motorbikes have emerged as a viable alternative to traditional gasoline-powered motorbikes due to their agility, easy parking, and eco-friendliness. However, their higher cost and limited fast-charging options remain significant barriers to widespread adoption. To overcome the challenges, the project ECOSWAP aims to remove the battery cost from the purchase and provide a convenient swapping service with wide availability.

In 2022, this project started its development to address the growing need for battery storage and exchange. A first prototype of a locker was designed to store batteries and offer exchange with users, along with an accompanying app that allowed for easy access to the service. The aim of the project was to provide a sustainable solution for battery storage and exchange that was both affordable and convenient for consumers of various brands (SEAT Mó & Silence).

After the development of the prototype and app, a pilot test was conducted in Barcelona with 8 battery exchange points. The results of the pilot test were promising, with a total of 2169 swaps completed across all 8 battery stations. The low failure rate indicates that the prototype and app were effective in providing a reliable service for users.

However, the average time to fix broken stations needs to be addressed in order to further improve the service. This issue highlights the need for continued development and refinement of the technology to ensure that it is both efficient and reliable. Despite this setback, the project overall has been a success and has the potential to provide a sustainable solution for battery storage and exchange in the future, while providing a fast-charging solution for batteries that do not actually have this feature, as it will allow the user to go from a 20% to 99% battery in under a minute.

The benefits of this project are significant, not only for consumers but also for the environment. By providing a convenient and affordable solution for battery storage and exchange, the project encourages the use of rechargeable batteries and reduces the amount of waste generated by disposable batteries. This is a step towards a more sustainable future and a better world for future generations.

In 2023, the project will continue with an international expansion, beginning with a second pilot site in Verona, Italy. The pilot will test how the service works in a mid-city use case and will serve as a first step for the internationalization of the service outside Spain. The pilot will also include a new municipality fleet operated by the City of Verona, with a brand-new electric motorbike fleet that will also use the battery swapping system.

The starting point for the Verona pilot will be to adjust the current technologies to provide a swapping infrastructure scalable to different markets in Europe. Key players and appliances which deploy battery-swapping ecosystems together with commercialization models will be integrated into the project. IDNEO and FICOSA will adapt premium cabinets for universal locations that will be tied into BaaS backend applications developed by SILENCE and SEAT MÓ to create a battery-swapping ecosystem, following the working prototype developed in 2022. The cabinets will be adapted to the project’s necessities, focusing on design-to-cost optimization for premium cabinets to facilitate scalability.

A crucial aspect of the battery swapping ecosystem project is the recyclability of the cabinets and batteries used in the service. To ensure that the project is sustainable and environmentally friendly, the 2023 edition of the project includes a task focused on the material assessment and eco-design guidelines of the next generation of batteries and cabinets. This subtask is led by CELSA and aims to decrease the ecosystem impact and costs of the project while promoting a circular economy business model. By designing the cabinets and batteries with recyclability in mind, the project will contribute to reducing waste and promoting a more sustainable future.

CARNET’s role in the project is essential to its success. As a research center focused on mobility, CARNET brings valuable expertise and insight to the analysis of the different pilots. CARNET will be responsible for developing the business models in the first year of operation, which is crucial to the project’s overall success.

Through CARNET’s analysis of the pilots, the project will be able to identify key factors that contribute to the success of the battery-swapping ecosystem. This includes identifying the most effective business models, pricing strategies, and marketing tactics for promoting the service to users.

CARNET will also work closely with SEAT MÓ and SILENCE to adapt their commercialization plan to the interoperability and scalability of other players. By collaborating with these companies, CARNET can ensure that the project’s technology and business models are aligned with the needs of the market and the users.

The development of the swapping service IT platform will be executed to implement the necessary developments to enable international scalability and B2B service requirements. Additionally, SEAT will manage the communication, dissemination, and marketing actions with relevant stakeholders for a wide world spreading.

The international expansion of the project will continue to develop the technology and refine the business models to provide a sustainable solution for battery storage and exchange that can be scaled to different markets in Europe. With CARNET’s contribution to the analysis of the different pilots, the project will continue to evolve and provide a valuable service for consumers and the environment alike.

In conclusion, the development of the prototype locker and app for battery storage and exchange has shown promising results in the pilot test conducted in Barcelona, turning ECOSWAP into a project with the potential to provide a sustainable solution for battery storage and exchange that is both affordable and convenient for consumers. This marks a step towards a more sustainable future and a better world for future generations, as it will facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles into our lives.

This project is co-funded by EIT Urban Mobility.