Electric Car Without Battery – A Step Towards More Affordable EVs

The advanced mechanisms and futuristic technology of electric vehicles come with an added cost. In general, electric vehicles are far more expensive than regular gas-powered vehicles.

The major contributor to the steep purchase price of an electric vehicle is its battery. The battery is designed to be strong enough to pull the weight of a heavy EV while providing a good range.

However, in recent years, many countries like China have been working on making electric vehicles more affordable for the local public.

The main concept that has helped reduce the overall purchase cost is selling the electric vehicle without a battery.

Are Electric Cars Without Battery A Step Toward More Affordable EVs?

Unlike gas-powered cars that need fossil fuel combustion to power them, electric vehicles convert stored electric energy into kinetic energy through their electric motors.

Although the technological concept behind an electric vehicle is brilliant, the high initial price has held back its true commercial potential.

Ever since the introduction of electric vehicles sold without a battery, the global EV industry has experienced a boom. These electric vehicles depend on the battery swapping concept to gain traction.

Electric Cars Without Batteries
Electric Cars Without Batteries

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What Makes Electric Vehicle Batteries Expensive?

An electric vehicle’s price can vary according to the size and quality of its battery.

A big electric vehicle, such as the Tesla Cybertruck, will require a large battery, whereas a small compact electric sedan might need a much smaller and cheaper battery.

Different electric vehicle batteries can have different:

  • Battery capacities
  • Battery ranges
  • Total lifespans
  • Chemical composition

The battery’s capacity shows how much electric charge it can store at a time. Batteries with a higher capacity can store enough charge to pull heavier and larger electric vehicles.

As a result, they are much more expensive. The main reason why some people remain hesitant about shifting to an electric vehicle is its lower range compared to a gas-powered vehicle.

The range of a battery is the total distance it can cover in one complete battery charge. Electric vehicles with higher battery capacities have higher ranges.

To compete against gas-powered cars, many EV brands such as Tesla have designed high-range batteries.

However, with the added range comes the higher battery cost. Just like that, electric vehicles with batteries with longer lifespans are more expensive.

Moreover, the chemical composition of an electric vehicle will also determine its market price. EVs that run on lithium-ion batteries are more expensive in general.

Each lithium-ion battery cell has a cathode, which is the most expensive component of an electric battery.

As a result, lithium-ion batteries reduce the EV’s total running costs and offer high ranges. On the other hand, electric vehicles with nickel-cobalt or lead-acid batteries are slightly cheaper.

Hence, if one buys an electric vehicle without a battery, the price will drop. Continue reading to learn how a battery removal is an option, thanks to the battery swapping system.

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What is The Battery Swapping system?

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, came up with an incredible concept to reduce an electric vehicle’s cost by almost half. However, after a decade of trials and testing, Musk decided to abandon the project.

In 2007, an Israeli startup called ‘Better Place’ worked on Musk’s concepts and commercialized the battery swapping system in their country.

This system allowed people to afford their electric vehicles easily and helped reduce the overall battery running and maintenance costs.

Today, many countries such as India and China have invested in the battery swapping system to attract more people to electric vehicles. Doing so gives these countries the hope of reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.

Battery swapping is a system that allows consumers to purchase electric vehicles such as electric cars, bikes, scooters, etc., without paying for the battery.

Instead, consumers can pick up a fully charged electric vehicle battery from a battery-swapping station and use it until it is depleted.

How Does the Battery Swapping System Work?

Many countries have started designing and operating battery swapping stations to attract consumers to electric vehicles.

These battery-swapping stations reduce the need for superchargers or destination charging outlets.

The overall system is very simple. An electric vehicle driver has to drive their EV to the nearest available battery-swapping station or booth when their EV battery is fully depleted.

The battery’s charge does not necessarily have to be 0%; rather, a battery with a charge under 20% is considered low enough for battery swapping.

Once the electric vehicle arrives at the swapping station, the mechanics remove the battery from the EV and install a fully charged electric battery of a similar size, capacity, range, and chemical type.

In many countries, the battery swapping system is performed by machines and hence is fully automated. This allows the electric vehicle owner to hit the road with a fully charged battery in just a few minutes.

Many battery-swapping stations allow EV drivers to apply for monthly payment packages to increase consumer convenience.

These packages require the EV owner to pay a lump sum for several swaps. Doing so reduces the total per swap price.

Consumers can also pay every time they get their battery swapped. It all depends on their preference and monthly budget.

However, not all-electric vehicles get to enjoy this new system. Many electric vehicles have their batteries intact, so removing them each time can cause damage to the electric vehicle’s wiring and other electrical components.

Hence, only certain electric vehicles are designed to be compatible with the battery swapping system.

How Much Money Does a Person Save Buying an Electric Vehicle Without a Battery?

According to electric vehicle mechanics, the EV’s battery makes up 30-50% of the total price. Hence purchasing an electric vehicle without a battery can reduce its price to nearly half.

This price reduction makes an electric vehicle have the same price as most same-sized gas-powered vehicles. As a result, many people are able to afford these vehicles, and GHG emissions are reduced as a result.

Which System is More Cost-Effective: Charging an EV at Home, a Station, or Through the Swapping System?

The greatest cost reduction a consumer benefits from is when they buy the electric vehicle. However, the battery swapping system is more expensive than charging an electric vehicle at a public EV charging station.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an EV at a Public Charging Station?

In general, charging average-sized electric vehicles at a supercharging station will cost the consumer around 13 to 28 USD.

However, apart from the battery’s size, range, and capacity, the cost of charging an EV at a supercharging station will majorly depend on the regional electricity prices.

DC supercharging stations have their charging prices according to where they are located. For instance, different countries and states have different electricity prices according to the region’s electric demand and supply.

Moreover, electricity prices are higher in commercial areas than residential areas, even within the same state. The table below shows the current electricity prices of different countries around the world:

CountryElectricity Prices  (USD per kWh)
USA0.142 USD
China0.089 USD
Germany0.357 USD
France0.202 USD
Japan0.191 USD
India0.109 USD

According to the data displayed in the table above, the price of supercharging an electric vehicle would be far lower in China compared to Germany or France.

To demonstrate how electricity prices can vary within a country, the table below shows the different electricity prices of five US states.

Name of the StateElectricity Prices  (Cents per kWh)
Manhattan19.6 Cents
California19.9 Cents
Washington DC13.21 Cents
Colorado12.28 Cents
Connecticut21.62 Cents

According to the data displayed in the table above, the price of supercharging an electric vehicle would be far lower in Colorado than in Connecticut or California.

Moreover, due to several solar-powered electric vehicle supercharging stations, many supercharging stations offer free-of-cost charging.

Furthermore, Tesla has installed over 4500 destination charging stations in the US at popular public locations that are completely free.

These locations include well-traveled routes, hotels, resorts, shopping centers, and theme parks. Consumers can charge their EVs for a few hours or even overnight without additional costs.

Although these destination chargers were initially designed to serve Tesla owners, many non-Tesla EV drivers can also charge their cars by connecting an additional 295 USD adaptor to the destination charger.

Hence, charging the electric vehicle at a supercharging station is extremely affordable.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an EV at Home?

Just like a supercharging station, the cost of charging an electric vehicle at home will depend on where you live.

Living in China will allow EV charging at home to be significantly cheaper than chargers in Germany. Moreover, the price of electricity is lower in residential areas than in commercial regions.

 Hence, charging an electric vehicle of any range or battery size will be most cost-efficient when done at home compared to a public charging station.

Electric Car Without Battery
Electric Vehicle Battery Charging

How Much Does Battery Swapping Cost?

The overall cost of battery swapping compared to charging at a supercharging station is much higher.

This is primarily because the costs of setting up a battery-swapping booth are significantly higher than installing a super or destination charging station.

Moreover, while a consumer can use the supercharging station without additional help, a battery-swapping booth needs to hire trained professionals who can remove and reinstall a battery without damaging the EV.

 Furthermore, due to the newness of the concept, ways to reduce usage costs are still being discussed.

However, battery swapping is still cheaper than fully refueling a gas-powered vehicle. Hence, even with batter swapping, consumers are incentivized to shift from gas-powered automobiles to EVs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying Electric Cars Without Batteries

Advantages

  • The upfront electric vehicle purchase price gets reduced by 30 to 50%, which makes it just as affordable as most gas-powered cars
  • The battery swapping system takes less than 10 minutes to complete the whole procedure, whereas a Tesla supercharging station may take 20 to 30 minutes for a complete charge. The fully automated battery swapping stations takes even less time
  • The continuous turnover of batteries allows the battery to be inspected for faults. As a result, an EV driver does not have to worry about the condition of their battery. Moreover, this significantly reduces any battery maintenance and repair charges

Disadvantages

  • The costs of setting up a fully functional battery swapping booth are ten times more expensive than installing an EV supercharger
  • Apart from the installation costs, companies have to buy several EV batteries, which requires a massive capital investment
  • Not all electric vehicles can have their batteries swapped that easily

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Final Thoughts

The growing global popularity of electric vehicles will save the planet from the current pollution crisis. Many consumers who otherwise would love to shift to EVs cannot do so because of their high market prices.

Buying an EV without a battery and using the battery swapping system can significantly reduce an EV’s upfront price.