Norway is setting a global example for EV adoption and nowadays it’s a place where if you buy a new car that isn’t electric, people around you might ask you why - that’s how pro-EV most Norwegians are. And this has made the nation quite unique in Europe, thanks to its more advanced charging infrastructure.
Well, it’s not just charging, since Norway also has some of Europe’s only electric vehicle battery swapping stations. Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Nio opened its first such station in the country in January of this year and its plan is to have a total of 20 spread around its territory, although that's just a fraction of what it has planned for China.
Fully Charged Show went to Norway to check out the Nio swapping station, which should replace a depleted battery pack with a fresh one that’s fully topped up in under 5 minutes. We’re not sure why it’s not quite as fast as similar stations in China, which complete the swap process in around a minute, but it’s still far quicker than waiting for an EV to fully charge.
Just like in China, though, you drive your Nio to the station, then it backs itself into the bay where the swap happens. The battery pack that’s already in the vehicle is removed and a fresh pack is installed. The pack that just came out of the car is given a diagnosis by the station in order to see its health, then it is stored and charged on location.
They also got a demonstration of roadside inductive charging, through a system developed by Momentum Dynamics, a wireless charging specialist headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania. The company has so far provided inductive charging solutions for buses and larger vehicles, but now it is also looking into developing a system for passenger vehicles too.
The system they are testing in Norway relies on a modified Jaguar I-Pace, chosen because its air suspension allows for its ride height to be increased in order to accommodate the wireless charging pad under the vehicle. In fact, it is the height of this pad that is currently limiting wider implementation, according to John Holland, Momentum’s Commercial Director for Europe.
And it is specifically this, making the charging pad smaller, that the company is currently working on. However, it looks like retrofitting one of these systems on an EV that’s not designed with it in mind is currently tricky, so maybe it could become a factory feature as the technology improves.