In China, the battery swap sites are open to Nio drivers who own their batteries outright or who lease them. In Europe, only drivers who opt for the ‘Battery as a Service’ (BaaS) system – a lease-style package separate from the cost of the car – are able to use the swap stations.
Beyond those included in BaaS packages, Shen says the cost of a battery swap is “comparable with a Supercharger”, with the benefit being that it is substantially quicker. He added: “Two big concerns of EV owners are range anxiety and about the cost and lifespan of batteries. Battery swapping addresses both of those concerns.”
The system is compatible with all of Nio’s batteries – 70kWh, 75kWh, 100kWh – and drivers who own or lease a smaller battery can use the stations to upgrade to the larger unit when they need to make long journeys.
Nio is currently putting the finishing touches to its plans to enter the UK and its market launch – including cars and battery swap stations – is due to take place next year.
Shen admits that the firm’s European Power Swap Station roll-out has been slower than expected due to the added complexity and approvals needed to secure locations compared with China. The Hungary plant can produce around 100 swap stations per year. The plan for the next year is to launch 1000 more stations in China and 70 more in Europe.