NIO announced that its network of EV battery swap stations in China has expanded to 900 stations. The deployment continues “to provide a charging experience beyond refueling.”
The plan is to install over 4,000 stations by the end of 2025, including over 1,000 outside of China. By the end of 2022, the number of NIO battery swap stations is set to exceed 1,300. The first station in Europe has been officially launched in Norway in January to support the local introduction of the NIO ES8 and the following models.
The currently installed 900 stations were used more than 8 million times (cumulatively), which is a massive number, compared to 700 stations and 5.3 million swaps reported in December 2021. On average, one station was used close to 9,000 times.
There are two standardized battery packs in NIO offer – 75 kWh (which replaced the outgoing 70 kWh) and 100 kWh, while the 150 kWh unit is in the pipeline.
All of the NIO models can use the battery swap stations as an alternative to fast charging on long-distance travel or to upgrade their existing battery to a newer or higher capacity unit. The batteries are offered as a separate rental item (with a monthly fee) to lower the initial purchase price, or as part of the car.
The second-generation Power Swap Station 2.0, introduced in April 2021, has 14 battery slots – 13 battery packs (vs 5 in the 1.0 version) and an empty slot to pick up a discharged battery (or old/previous generation battery when upgrading). According to NIO, they are capable of completing up to 312 battery swaps per day (24 hours), which would mean 4.6 minutes or close to 277 seconds per swap (including parking).
To quickly expand the battery swap network, NIO partners with companies like Sinopec and Shell. NIO and Sinopec already installed 71 battery swap stations in China within 12 months (as well as 75 fast-charging stations and 29 destination charging stations).
The company said: “Going forward, NIO and Sinopec will continue to work on the expansion of the battery charging and swapping network in China, and explore more possibilities for further cooperation in fields like new materials, so as to contribute to China’s carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and accelerate the clean energy transition.”
Only time will tell whether the battery swap station will remain a Chinese thing, or if it will spread also in other markets, like Europe or the US – both focused on DC fast charging.