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Aulton New Energy, battery-swap forerunner, banks 1.5 billion yuan in Series B

September 30, 2021 0:13 am

Aulton New Energy announced today that it had completed its B round strategic fundraising with 1.5 billion yuan ($232 million) in proceeds, led by a special fund established by Guangzhou Finance Holdings and Guangzhou Kaide Investment Holdings, and Sinopec's Enze Investment Fund.

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Aulton New Energy, an EV transportation solutions provider specializing in battery-swapping services, is often considered the bellwether in the industry as they own nearly 3,000 patents, including 20-seconds battery-swap.

Aulton has collaborated with over 20 automakers such as Beijing Automotive, FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor, Changan, and others to develop battery-swap car models, according to the company. With its battery-swap networks spanning over 30 cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and others, it has serviced over 50,000 users.

Up till today, the startup's total proceeds amount to 3.5 billion yuan ($541 million), with previous investors including NIO Capital, BAIC BJEV, and others.

Aulton's business model coincides with China's carbon neutral by 2060 campaign and has tasted the sweetness of favorable policies.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology led a project in April establishing battery swap testing sites in multiple cities in China. Earlier this year, the General Office of the State Council has published a plan stating the country will push for building and expanding a network of battery charging and swapping for green energy vehicles.

To swap or to charge, that is the question. As electric vehicles gain momentum among consumers, investors, and regulators in China, the pros and cons of both models have begun to surface.

Swapping is more time-efficient than charging in current times and the short-term future since it might take 30 minutes to 80 minutes on average to charge an electric vehicle, even with fast charging mode. Yet it only takes seconds or a couple of minutes to swap a battery.

In order to expand and evolve, it's best for battery swapping services to unify their standards and manufacture models. Yet, automakers are reluctant to give up their own battery system to adapt to that of others.

Battery swapping stations are also more expensive to build, as they need to store a vast number of batteries to sufficiently meet demands. According to BAIC BJEV, the electric vehicle business unit under Chinese carmaker Beijing Automotive Group, the construction cost for a battery swapping station is nearly 10 million yuan ($1.5 million), while battery stocking and storing costs amount to 3.22 million yuan ($497,597).