How Is This A Good Idea?: EV Battery Swapping

Jeremy Michalek, a mechanical engineering professor and director of Carnegie Mellon’s vehicle electrification group, calls battery swapping a relic of a bygone EV age.

Today’s new EVs routinely deliver 200 to 400 miles of range, with a potential 517 miles for the forthcoming Lucid Air. Those EVs charge in 35 minutes or less at Tesla Superchargers and other oases for time-pressed drivers. DC fast charging times have soared by roughly sevenfold, to today’s top 350-kilowatt units. Why do drivers need a contraption to extract the 630-kilogram battery of a Porsche Taycan Turbo, when they can juice that battery in 20 minutes flat? Lucid says its Air will add up to 300 miles of range in the same 20 minutes. That’s enough for nearly five hours of highway driving at 60 mph, before it’s time for a fill-up.

“When you’re looking at 300 miles of range from a fast charge, it changes the game for how convenient EVs are,” Michalek said. “You’re going to spend 20 minutes going to the bathroom and getting coffee anyway.”