Electrification has become the most disruptive norm that is bringing new partnerships to the forefront. Now, a new programme of research into the standardisation and commercialisation of replaceable and rechargeable cartridge batteries (swappable batteries) has been announced by Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) and Yamamoto Transport. CJPT was launched by Toyota Motor Corporation with Isuzu Motors and Hino Motors in March 2021 and has since been joined by Suzuki and Daihatsu.
The partnership is working to address one of the principal challenges presented by commercial battery electric vehicles (BEVs) of recharging which takes longer than the refuelling time for conventional petrol and diesel vehicles. This causes an increase in logistics downtime, when vehicles and cargo are at a standstill. The introduction of commercial BEVs is also expected to create a potential increase in peak electricity demand at business sites when numerous vehicles are being recharged at the same time.
To solve these issues, CJPT and Yamamoto Transport will begin studying the practical application of detachable and portable cartridge batteries, based on a series of potential benefits.
It is interesting to note that it was in 2017, when Ashok Leyland and Sun Mobility had joined hands to explore the use case of battery swapping in electric buses. The partners had also showcased the concept vehicle and the battery swapping technology.
Reducing the cost of introducing BEVs: costs can be reduced by limiting battery capacity to match actual driving range requirements. This could also reduce the total amount of batteries required.
- Reducing the requirement for recharging infrastructure.
- Reducing logistics downtime.
- Levelling off electricity demand: replacement batteries can be recharged while vehicles are in operation, reducing peak power demand.
CJPT intends to advance plans for commercial BEVs that can be powered by cartridge batteries. The company believes that the development of common-specification cartridge batteries and recharging systems for a range of commercial vehicles, from minivans to light-duty trucks, will reduce their cost and encourage their widespread use. It is also looking at ways of matching battery use to actual operational requirements to produce an efficient energy management solution.
On the other hand, Yamamoto Transport aims to build a green delivery ecosystem that includes its transport and delivery partners, working with communities to co-create an electricity utilisation scheme based on the use of cartridge batteries. In addition to promoting the use of green power by eliminating the gap between renewable energy generation peaks and the timing of commercial BEV recharging, the company also intends to study ways of increasing the resilience of electric energy supply communities. This could include, for example, the delivery of cartridge batteries to disaster zones where access to the power infrastructure is compromised.
The two companies are open to considering collaboration with new partners on the standardisation and commercialisation of cartridge batteries, helping popularise electrified vehicles and thus contributing towards the achievement of a carbon-neutral society.