Swap-charging is all about customer convenience and bringing sufficient fast-charging to drivers in built-up areas without years of planning, permitting and construction delay, as well as the associated costs.
At the moment, drivers who wish to “super-charge” (>100 kW) their vehicles, generally have to drive to a charging station located on or near the highway, where there is better access to the medium-voltage grid and more traffic volume to cover the high infrastructure costs.
Normal city neighborhoods mainly connected to the low-voltage system and the sub-stations are optimized only for the local domestic or commercial electricity needs, which did not foresee electric vehicle charging. This can work to a limited extent for slow-charging, but is also not future proofed. As more and more cars come on stream, the sub-stations reach their limits, potentially leading to grid instability (i.e. blackouts).
Swap chargers are similar to power-packs for mobile phones. They are not grid connected. About the size of a large refrigerator, they contain large battery-packs, power electronics and the intelligence needed to charge a car, including payment solutions.
The swap chargers are typically placed street-side or on commercial parking lots (e.g. stores, restaurants and post-offices) and can charge around 12 cars for 20 minutes, after which they are collected and replaced (swapped) in an operation similar to the collection of recycling containers. They are flexible and are located according to e-car charging demand.
The real strength of swap-charging is that it is possible to deploy hundreds of these charging units in a city within a very short period of time. To put this in context; a grid connected fast-charger (over 100 kW) requires up to 2 years of planning and construction, whereas a swap-charger can be deployed within a few hours, once permission is given by the city or land-owner. It can also be moved around, if the location is not optimal.
At JOLT, our business is to design, build and operate a network of swap-chargers. Our system is managed by our own IT-platform, which controls the location tracking, state-of-charge, billing and the logistics processes.
Jolt brings fast-charging downtown. Our vision is to be deployed in 100 cities by 2025.