Foton Daimler, the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz trucks in China, has partnered with Aulton, one of China's leading companies in battery swapping systems. Through the partnership Foton Daimler will develop chassis for electric trucks which will be adapted for swapping of batteries using Aulton's system.
Aulton is a company specialised in battery swapping with more than 800 battery swapping stations in operation in 58 cities in China. The company offers a platform which is independant of brand and is today working with more than 20 different EV producers and support over 30 models.
As far as we understand this is the first agreement between Aulton and a producer of heavy vehicles. The market for electric trucks is growing rapidly in China with 22,568 battery electric trucks sold in 2022. Of those 12,341 trucks were designed for battery swappin and , while the sales of ordinary trucks grew at a rate of 61.7% since 2021 the segment with swappable batteries grew at a rate of 274%. Battery swapping is seen as key enabler and several initiatives have been launched by different truck makers and as recently as in June 2023 CATL launched its Qiji Energy platform which works with 171 kWh battery packs based on LFP cells from CATL.
At Circular Energy Storage we follow the battery swapping market closely as we see it as a key enabler for both circular retention of batteries and, especially for heavy vehicles, a way to reduce the pack sizes. While the rapid growth of Chinese EV maker Nio's battery swapping stations has been grabbing a lot of attention just like the concept of Gogoro for scooters, the growth of brand independant platforms could be a driver for a wider adoption. We have previously reported about California based Ample, CATL's platform EVOGO, Chinese Blue Park Smart Energy which all are offering swapping solution as an open platform, as well as the Japanese motorcycle maker's joint platform with energy company Eneos.
Aulton claims swaps can be done in 20 seconds for passenger vehicle while commercial vehicles can have their batteries replaced in 40 seconds.