Berlin airport will host a brand-neutral battery-swap facility for electric cars starting in mid-2023 as part of a Chinese push to get Europeans hooked on the technology.
The swap station, with a claimed 20-second turnaround time, is a combined effort that involves two Chinese companies, battery swap specialist Aulton Dianba and vehicle maker MG, as well as France's TotalEnergies. The swapping location will be added to TotalEnergies' fuel station near the airport.
The station is operated by InfraDianba, a German joint venture 50 percent owned by Aulton Dianba, and is capable of 480 swaps a day.
The process has undergone a three-year trial in Germany using two MG5 electric station wagons equipped with Aulton Dianba's battery swap technology.
The partners initially are targeting Berlin's 4,000-vehicle taxi fleet, but the long-term goal is to make battery swapping a mainstream alternative to charging.
“The charge-point network will not be able to solve the problem of e-mobility. We require a different solution,” an InfraDianba spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.
Aulton Dianba's swap technology involves slotting the replacement battery into position, rather than unscrewing it, a method employed by Chinese EV startup Nio, which aims to build its own battery swap network in Germany as part of its market entry planned for later this year.
InfraDianba's station will have 30 50-kilowatt-hour battery packs on site for swapping.
The site's promised 20-second swap times are likely to increase when vehicle positioning times are added to the equation.