Swedish start-up reveals radical solution for charging electric vehicles

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The technical concept was created with the goal of using the already well-established refuelling infrastructure: petrol stations.

“It is better if we do not have to establish a completely new infrastructure just because we want to use EVs (electric vehicles) instead of fossil fuel cars,” Powerswap founder Sten Corfitsen.

Traditional EV charging involves connecting a cord and waiting for the car to be charged. With Powerswap, the battery is replaced with the help of a robotic device in three minutes.

Mr Corfitsen says the solution will change the way people think about EV charging.

“By installing robotic swap units at petrol stations and parking lots, we will gain a cost-efficient solution for the transition to a dominant electric-transport sector,” he said.

Powerswap is claimed to be different from earlier battery-swap trials, which have been based on building “expensive” new swap stations. Another difference is that Powerswap handles the swap of batteries from the side, which is better when it comes to automation.

“I’m confident we have created something that will lead to faster expansion for EVs,” Mr Corfitsen said. “Taxi companies and other transportation fleets are suitable niches for our introduction because their operations have no time available for prolonged charging. We have received a Letter of Intent from Taxi Stockholm, the biggest taxi company in Sweden.”

According to Powerswap, the advantages of automatic battery swap are:

  • No time needed for charging; faster than filling a petrol car.
  • The car is not out of use during “refuelling” (charging).
  • The EV can be sold without the battery, which will make the price of an EV less than that of a fossil-fuel car. The battery will be leased and can be renewed when enhanced technology is available.
  • An infrastructure will be built without the need for hundreds of thousands of public charging poles.
  • The stress on the battery is significantly reduced. Powerswap claims to give batteries a suitable amount of time for charging, which lowers the peaks in demand and the stress on the grid.

Powerswap AB is a spin-off from Fuelmatics AB, the originator of completely automatic refuelling with liquid fuels. Powerswap is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency, Energi-myndigheten, with the goal of enabling a more efficient infrastructure for electric vehicles. The company collaborates with Chinese battery manufacturers and OEMs.

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