A power swap station jointly constructed by Sinopec and Nio was officially put into operation on Thursday at the Chaoying gas filling station in Beijing.
Due to its idle space and sizeable customer flow rate, the Chaoying gas filling station was determined to be the most suitable place to build the new power swap station, which covers an area of 60 square meters.
According to an announcement by Nio, the Chaoying power swap station adopts the electronics company’s second generation battery swap technology. At the station, users can complete automatic parking and power change without getting out of the car. 13 high-capacity batteries are capable of completing up to 312 battery swaps per day, requiring an average time of four and a half minutes.
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Zhang Yuzhuo, the chairman of Sinopec, said that the company plans to build 5000 power swap stations by 2025 in order to consolidate its leading position in the vehicle energy market.
Sinopec is the largest oil sales company in China, with more than 30,000 gas stations spread across the country. Developing new businesses such as power exchange and high-power, fast DC charging represents a big step in the firm’s transformation from traditional oil seller to comprehensive energy service provider.
At present, new energy electric vehicles in China are mainly charged by geographically-distributed charging piles. According to data released by the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, by December 2020, there were only 555 power swap stations nationwide – less than 0.07% of the total number of charging piles.
Sinopec believes that with increasingly prevalent electric vehicles combined with a nationwide scarcity of parking lots, power change stations capable of rapid and high-power DC charging modes will grow in popularity. When the new energy vehicles run low on power, drivers can continue their journey by replacing a full battery at power swap stations.
Since the carbon emissions peak and carbon neutrality goals were put forward, Sinopec has accelerated its pace in entering the new energy field by cooperating with leading enterprises.
The cooperation fields between Sinopec and Nio range from battery charging and swapping to new material and intelligent vehicles.
“We intend to deploy more Nio power swap stations in Sinopec gas stations located in Beijing, Shanghai, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and high-speed railways where we have a relatively large number of users.” Li Bin, founder of Nio, said.
According to Securities Times, Nio is the first new energy vehicle company to promote the power exchange mode on a large scale, mainly aiming at the private vehicle market. Building power swap stations needs considerable funding and high-capacity batteries. However, the company’s experience in achieving this has not been roses the whole way. Nio built about 200 stations in 2020, much less than its original plan.
On Thursday, Sinopec signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with another new energy company, Aulton. Both firms will fully combine their technologies and expertise to explore areas of commercial application for intelligent charging, and carry out practical cooperation in research and application of battery charging and swapping.
In January, Sinopec held an online meeting with four new energy enterprises, including GCL Group, Trinasolar, Longi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd. and Zhonghuan Semiconductor to talk about further development of the industry.