2 déc 21

Up and running: Nio’s first European battery-swapping station

On the verge of opening it up for its customer base, Nio is currently testing its first battery-swapping station in Europe.

More precisely in Norway, its trial market in the EU. There, the Chinese car brand started first deliveries of its all-electric ES8 model only a few months ago.

The swapping process occurs fully automated. After the driver has pushed a pop-up button on the central display of the ES8, the car automatically parks in a neatly designed box, whereafter robots lift the car, unscrew the used battery pack, transport it for stocking, fetch a new one and bolt it on. It doesn’t take more than a minute for the driver to proceed with his journey.

324 swaps a day

Nio is rolling out version 2.0 of its battery station, able to perform 324 swaps a day. The Norwegian box relies on 14 slots, containing 13 batteries and one free space needed for the exchange.

In its homeland China, the brand is operating a little more than 600 swapping stations.

Hopes are high for success. Apparently, more than 90% of the ES8 customers chose Battery as a Solution (BaaS), preferring to lease the pack and paying less for the car in return. This service lowers the threshold for swapping.

After Norway, Nio has set its eyes on Germany. It aims for 4,000 stations worldwide by 2025.   

Backed by Shell

As a remedy for long charging times battery swapping stations were pioneered already a decade ago by Renault (who is believed to be reconsidering) and Tesla. But the solution was quickly abandoned because of a lack of interest.

Nio, however, believes firmly that it can be a game-changer. However, because of the intensive capital involved, the roll-out is backed by petroleum company Shell. Both companies stepped into a strategic partnership for developing charging infrastructure all over the globe.    

Author: Bart van Holderbeke
Copyright picture: Nio, 2021.