Swapping out EV batteries instead of charging them could be a quick, efficient solution.

Battery swapping could be a viable EV charging alternative, reports E&E News. The method is being used in China, and now a San Francisco-based company is hoping this new approach to EV charging will catch on.

Ample Inc. is set to receive a $15 million grant in California to expand its small factory in the Bay Area, and it has secured its first EV partner—Fisker Inc. The company says that replacing EV batteries instead of waiting to juice them up will get drivers back on the road faster, and it can be done with minimal electrical infrastructure.

Ample has designed smaller batteries that can be more easily moved around, and they can either restore the whole battery or just a section of it, depending on how much range the vehicle needs. According to E&E News, when an EV parks in a stall at an Ample station, spent battery modules are unscrewed from the vehicle and replaced with charged ones. The empties are shuttled to a large adjoining cabinet, where they are recharged.

Battery swapping is not what automakers, investors and the government envisioned for an electric-vehicle future, as billions of dollars have already been spent on EV charging. “Is this really going to be something that can be mainstreamed? The easy answer is no,” Alan Baum, an independent automotive forecaster who focuses on EVs, told E&E News. “But there could be situations where you do small projects.” Fisker, which focuses on ride-hailing and rental vehicle companies, told E&E that these types of businesses drive lots of miles and could lose profit if they can’t “fill up” right away, making battery swapping a good alternative to traditional EV battery charging for them.

Though battery swapping could be a viable charging alternative, there have been some swapping flops. A startup called Better Place raised $1 billion in the early 2010s on the idea that its stations, which replaced an EV’s battery in five minutes, would replicate the speed and convenience of a gas station. By 2013, Better Place was bankrupt because of low interest from EV makers and drivers.

“The model requires a leap of faith on the part of the customer, and many were unwilling to take that leap,” John Gartner, at the time an automotive consultant, told the Guardian.

Tesla even tried battery swapping at one point in 2015. It had a single battery-exchange station between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but it also bit the dust.

“Clearly, it’s not very popular,” CEO Elon Musk said on a call with investors that year. “It’s just—people don’t care about pack swap.”

But China is more open to battery swapping. Chinese EV maker Nio Inc. has installed more than 1,300 swapping stations and planned to get to 3,000 stations by the end of this year. Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. is also rapidly building swap centers.

When charging on the go, 24% of U.S. consumers want a dedicated EV service station, and 20% want a traditional gas station with EV chargers. However, a significant number of people surveyed (25%) in the U.S. simply want access to charging when they need it regardless of location. Because these EV owners will have time on their hands to spend at c-stores while their vehicles recharge, some retail experts say that c-stores may be required to change their formats. Here are five things c-stores can offer waiting EV customers.

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