E-bikes: Can this battery-swapping tech unchoke cities? We took a ride

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Scooters have become the most popular form of personal transportation in Asia, with millions of them on the roads in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. While these motor scooters are cheap and convenient, they also contribute to pollution and emissions, creating a challenge for cities looking for cleaner alternatives. However, a Taiwanese company claims to have found the solution: a battery-swapping network.

This Taiwanese company has already built the world’s largest battery-swapping network, which aims to provide an electric alternative for scooters. To understand how this system works, we took a ride on one of these electric scooters in Taipei.

The concept is simple yet innovative. Instead of charging the scooter’s battery, which can take hours and may not be feasible for riders who are constantly on the go, users can simply swap the depleted battery with a fully charged one at one of the designated battery-swapping stations. This allows for a quick and seamless exchange, eliminating the need to wait for the battery to charge.

The process begins by locating a nearby battery-swapping station using a mobile app. Riders can then park their scooters in the designated area and remove the battery. The empty battery is placed in a slot at the station, and within a few seconds, a fully charged battery is dispensed. The new battery can then be inserted into the scooter, and riders can continue their journey without any significant delay. This system not only eliminates the need for individual charging infrastructure but also ensures that riders always have access to a fully charged battery.

The battery-swapping network is not only practical but also cost-effective. Users can either pay a subscription fee for unlimited battery swapping or choose a pay-per-use option. The company aims to have hundreds of battery-swapping stations across the city to ensure accessibility and convenience for users.

While the electric scooter itself may have its limitations, such as a lower range compared to combustion engine scooters, the battery-swapping network offers a viable solution. With the ability to quickly exchange batteries, riders can overcome the range constraint and continue using their scooters without worrying about running out of power.

As cities across Asia look for ways to reduce emissions and pollution, this battery-swapping network presents a promising solution. By transitioning from traditional petrol-powered scooters to electric scooters with a convenient battery-swapping system, cities can make a significant step towards a greener and more sustainable transportation future.

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