The Chinese ride-hailing service Didi and the Chinese battery maker CATL have announced a new alliance to secure their place in China’s rapidly growing EV field, Beijing-based outlet TechNode reported.
In a joint announcement made on January 28, the two companies revealed that they have signed an agreement that will see them rapidly build battery swap stations for electric vehicles in China on a large scale. CATL and Didi have not yet disclosed further details about the precise scale and timeline of the battery swap network, but they did reveal that they will be pursuing collaborations in other areas besides swappable batteries in future.
A robust charging infrastructure is crucial to the successful widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Otherwise, drivers can risk finding themselves stranded hundreds of miles from their destination if any hiccups occur during long-distance journeys. Battery swapping offers a solution to this, making long-distance travel more viable for EVs as the process is much quicker than conventional charging.
The Chinese government has long been pushing for the adoption of EVs. So far this has included support for businesses that help set standards for battery specifications and swap techniques as well as generous incentives for EV buyers.
The current leader in battery swap infrastructure is domestic automaker Nio, which operates 2,300 swap stations across the country, with plans to add a further 1,000 by the end of the year. Overall, China has a total of 3,567 battery swap stations as of December 2023, marking an 81% increase from the previous year.