Last year Geely Technology Group launched its ride-sharing service with rapid one-minute battery changes. Today, similar technology is being rolled out for use with heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to bring construction and logistics vehicles into the 21st century.
By using a combination of pure electric heavy goods vehicles, including cement mixers and standard semis, Geely hopes to make typically messy industries, like construction and logistics, greener.
Behind the driver’s cabin of the trucks pictured is a large black box that contains the battery cells and housing in one secure package. The cement mixers currently using the service use a battery that can store up to 280kWh of power.
This is around three to four times that of a standard electric car, giving the trucks around 118 miles (190km) of pure electric range while also powering other functions, such as the mixing of cement.
To make battery swapping as simple as possible for trucks, Geely have the battery pack located behind the cab. This allows quick and safe access using a crane from above.
The process is completely automatic using a QR code. From start to finish, the battery swapping of these trucks takes around five minutes, a similar amount of time taken to refuel using traditional methods.
This new system of battery swapping is smart, efficient and economical. Not only do they use roughly the same amount of time as refuelling using petrol or diesel, but are also cost-effective. The cost per 62 miles (100km) of operating these pure electric trucks is around 30-40 yuan ($5/£3.8/€4.5).
The stations themselves are relatively space-efficient, using around 200 square feet and, thanks to their modular buildup, can be constructed quickly. This makes them a great solution for densely-populated urban areas, and also as an alternative to charging stations, which require more from local infrastructure. Solar panels on top of the station provide energy for some of the stations’ operations.
At any given time, there only needs to be eight battery packs in these battery swapping stations. Through the use of smart battery management and rapid charging, batteries can be charged to 100 percent in an hour. A fully charged battery will always be ready, and at present, a single station can support up to 50 vehicles.