Zap Jonway is trying a lot of different angles in its 380 SUV lineup. Not only can you buy the A380 SUV CNG hybrid version with extended range, now you can swap out batteries in the upcoming E380 SUV battery electric version, as well. And get this – you don't even have to do the battery swapping yourself. A robot arm takes care of it for you.
Zap Jonway, based in Santa Rosa, CA, made an agreement to work with the China National Grid to set up battery swap stations in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. The Battery Swap Version was designed to work with the robotic system as specified by China National Grid (C-NG), which is the state-sponsored electric utility. The battery packs have been standardized to fit the robotic arm and also the recharging cabinets in the government-funded charging stations being deployed by C-NG.
The utility has launched extensive programs in selected provinces to support fast battery swapping. The battery swap usually takes no longer than six minutes to complete. It's not entirely clear, but you can sort of see the battery being taken out (or being put in) in the photo above.
To support electric vehicle adoption, the utility is promoting the sale of EVs by not charging for lithium ion batteries, since they are leased by C-NG or an authorized funding partner. It's a business model that been adopted by taxis in Hangzhou, and by a few leasing companies that are working in partnership with C-NG. The other main global proponent of battery swapping, Better Place, does not appear to have had anything to do with the Zap project.
SANTA ROSA, Calif., April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ZAP (ZAAP) an automotive company incorporated in California and headquartered in Santa Rosa, California announced that the battery Swap version of the E380 SUV has been approved by China National Grid for its battery swap stations in China, based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
The Battery Swap Version of E380 SUV (Model E380-S) was designed specifically to work with the robotic system used for battery swapping as specified by China National Grid. The battery packs that are used have been standardized to fit the robotic arm and also the recharging cabinets in the government funded charging stations that are being deployed by China National Grid. China National Grid (C-NG), the government monopoly that supplies electric power to China has launched extensive programs in selected provinces to support fast battery swapping. Generally, the swap out and replacement takes no more than 6 minutes to complete. In order to stimulate the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs), C-NG is promoting the sale of EVs without including the cost of the lithium batteries, and the batteries will be leased from C-NG or authorized funding partners. This business model is being adopted by taxis in Hangzhou, and also by a number of leasing companies that are working in partnership with C-NG. The vehicles could be leased to owners and paid over a period of several years and the cost of the batteries is financed by C-NG and amortized over that period of time.
ZAP Jonway's E380-S, developed by ZAP Hangzhou Joint Venture was done in collaboration with China National Grid's engineers and is an alternative model to the E380 SUV that was type approved in January 2013. This E380-S model will undergo type approval in the battery swap configuration. As a follow on product to the E380, the type approval will take shorter time than the first one and the plan is to complete this by the end of this summer. The target market will be taxis and leasing companies where fast battery swap-out is needed to give quick turnaround for a "refill". ZAP Hangzhou JV team is working with a few leasing companies to potentially offer financing to taxis and interested buyers.
The robot and the automated battery swap and recharge station are compact and were designed to easily fit into an existing gas station. This automated system was designed by C-NG's engineering team, and C-NG plans to make this available for the international markets as well. By standardizing the removable battery packs that fit with the robot arm, C-NG has simplified the EV designs and thus accelerated the advancement and adoption of EV in the auto industry in China. ZAP Hangzhou JV's engineers continue to work closely with China National Grid's team to expand the availability of the E380-S and their automated battery swap stations in other major cities in China, and potentially elsewhere in the world.
About ZAP Jonway
ZAP Jonway (stands for ZAP and its subsidiary company in China, Jonway Automobile) designs and manufactures quality, affordable gasoline and new energy electric vehicles (EVs). Jonway Automobile has ISO 9000 manufacturing facilities, engineering, sales and customer services facilities in China, ZAP Jonway has production capacity of up to 50,000 vehicles per year, and has sales distribution network in China. ZAP, an early pioneer of EVs, brings to both companies a broad range of EV design experience that is applied to the new product lines. ZAP Jonway is headquartered in Santa Rosa, California and Jonway Auto is located in Zhejiang Province of the People's Republic of China. Additional information about ZAP Jonway is available at http://www.zapworld.com.