Geely and Lifan Set Up New Entity to Focus on EV Battery Swapping

Automotive Author: Niko Yang Editor: Tao Ni Jan 26, 2022 11:49 PM (GMT+8)

The new company claimed the service would only take 60 seconds.

Geely Auto

Geely Auto, the parent company of Volvo, has announced that a joint venture it established with Lifan Technology, a car and motorcycle maker in southwestern China, is now up and running after securing the official stamp of approval.

In a public statement, the Chinese car maker said the new entity, Chongqing Rui Lan Automobile Technology Co. Ltd (or Rui Lan for short), has completed the registration and obtained the business license issued by the Market Supervision Administration, the market watchdog, in Chongqing, where Lifan is headquartered.

Both Geely and Lifan have equal ownership of the new company.

Rui Lan Auto will mainly provide a one-stop solution consisting of battery swapping services and equipment for businesses and consumers.

The joint venture will adopt the GBRC (Geely Battery Rapid Charge) platform, which can adapt to the wheelbase range of 2700-3100mm, catering to SUVs, MPVs and even logistics vehicles and light trucks.

This new tie-up is also able to meet the needs of different markets such as ride-hailing, private cars, taxis and logistics vehicles.

Rui Lan plans to build more than 5,000 EV battery swap stations in over 100 cities by 2025.

According to the plan, the technology possessed by the new firm will not just allow for separation of the vehicle and power pack. It also covers EV battery management, retired battery storage and utilization and battery recycling.

Another highlight is that Geely's battery swapping stations can serve most cars with replaceable batteries within up to 60 seconds, no matter their brands or types.

This new endeavor comes as the EV industry faces dwindling policy dividends.

The Ministry of Finance, together with four other government agencies, announced on April 23, 2020 that they will gradually dial down subsidies offered to EV consumers.

Under the new policy, EVs with a starting price of more than CNY 300,000 (USD 47,244) will no longer be eligible for subsidies of up to CNY 25,000.

However, EVs supporting battery swapping are exempted from this rule -- in an obvious attempt to stimulate the growth of the emerging technology.

The realm is increasingly teeming with not just auto brands like Nio, Dongfeng, BAIC, Changan and SAIC. The stakes are now higher with the entry of battery giant CATL, which recently launched its own battery swap business.

However, since battery swap infrastructure is costly to build, it'll be hard for new entrants in this sector to turn a profit in the short term.