NIO is the only electric car manufacturer to have successfully integrated battery swapping into its business. It is now reportedly in talks to license its battery swap stations to other automakers as it expands into Europe and the United States.
Over the years I’ve covered electric vehicles, I’ve seen several companies attempt to add value to electric vehicles by using interchangeable batteries.
The idea is that if charging takes longer than refueling, we could just swap out a battery for a fully charged one.
A startup called Better Place built its entire business model around it and went bankrupt.
Tesla deployed its own battery exchange technology in 2014but he only built one battery swap station and quickly killed the project.
You need to manage what happens to battery packs after they’re swapped out: do owners have to come back for them or can they keep the new pack? Do you use a pack rental model? What is the price of these rentals? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered when using battery swapping as part of your EV business.
That’s why we were a little skeptical when NIO, a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, launched its own battery exchange program with its first electric vehicles back in 2018.
But the automaker defied the odds, and the program was quite successful as we previously reported when they completed 500,000 battery swaps in 2020.
The company has truly become the only electric car manufacturer to have successfully integrated battery swapping into its business.
Last year we reported that NIO has announced a plan to open its battery swap stations to other electric automakersbut we didn’t know if there would be any takers.
Apparently there are like FinancialTimes reports that NIO’s European President, Hui Zhang, has confirmed that the company is currently in talks with “several other automakers” about licensing its battery-swap technology:
Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio is in talks with several other automakers over licensing the battery-swap technology that is central to the group’s strategy to win over gasoline-powered motorists in Europe, said one of the company’s top executives.
The move comes as NIO expands its network of battery swap stations from the current 888 to 5,000 by the end of the decade.
Almost all of these more than 800 stations are in China, with the exception of a few deployed in Norway, NIO’s first European market.
By 2025, NIO aims to have more than 1,000 battery exchange stations outside of China, especially in Europe and the United States, which is expected to be NIO’s next market expansion after Europe. .
Now, what’s interesting is that if other automakers want to take advantage of NIO’s growing network of battery swapping stations, they will also have to adopt NIO’s battery technology for their own electric vehicles.
This creates another opportunity for the Chinese automaker.
So far, they don’t reveal which automakers are interested in the technology.
FTC: We use revenue-generating automatic affiliate links. Continued.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to podcast.