Geely says it started researching battery swap technology back in 2017. Despite that, it only registered the name for its system in June 2020 and began operating it in September 2020 in Chongqing. So far, the E-Energee service is restricted to CaoCao taxis, which also belong to Geely. That will not prevent the company from offering 5,000 swap stations by 2025. Geely did not say if these stations will only service CaoCao taxis or if private customers will also have access to it.
It will not surprise us if Geely limits those stations to taxi cabs until that year. That would be a way to test how robust the system is before spreading its use. The best vehicles to test are those that have to run all the time to make a profit. If you want to buy a car that does not break down very often, just check which one is more popular among taxi drivers. It is a sure deal.
Although Geely is not particularly popular for its battery swap system, establishing 5,000 stations until 2025 shows it has aggressive plans for its technology. That’s the same number of stations NIO plans to have by 2025.
The main difference is that NIO is a luxury brand and that its swapping process takes three to six minutes. Geely says that it only takes one minute to replace the battery packs in its vehicles. To be more precise, the number Geely used was 59 seconds. Geely brags about not needing an operator to put the car in the proper position: the own driver can enter the station, swap the battery and leave.
That can be a strong selling point when these EVs are available to a broader public. Geely also offers more affordable cars, something that NIO is still working on with a brand that will help it make its battery swap system more popular. In fact, Geely has so many brands that it may choose which one will be the best to introduce its new tech. As long as people have access to it soon, they will not complain.