NIO Reaches 4 Million Battery Swaps and 504 Stations

NIO Celebrates 4 Million Battery Swaps and 504 Swap Stations 10 photos
Photo: NIO
NIO Power Swap StationNIO Power Swap Station 2.0NIO Power Swap Station 2.0NIO Power Swap StationNIO Power Swap StationNIO Power Swap StationNIO Power Swap StationNIO Power Swap StationNIO Celebrates 4 Million Battery Swaps and 504 Swap Stations
On April 7, 2021, NIO announced it had produced its 100,000th vehicle. That was a little after the company celebrated 2 million battery swaps in a tweet on March 24. The company achieved 1 million exchanges in October 2020, which shows an interesting pattern: it doubles the number of battery pack replacements every six months or so. That was confirmed on September 29, when NIO said it had just swapped battery packs 4 million times.
That’s quite impressive for a company that wants to establish this technology as the standard for electric cars. It is not only the best way to make EVs beat combustion-engined vehicles when it comes to refueling: it can be the only one. As much as fast charging advances, specialists say it will never be as quickly as replenishing a fuel tank.

There are more advantages to the system. Batteries do not like to be recharged fast. They last longer if you can do that with no rush. That would allow battery packs to use lower voltages. The higher they are, the faster you can recharge. At the same time, safety hazards also increase enormously: the human body would already suffer damage with 230V. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Porsche Taycan works at 800V.

The main disadvantages are that swappable batteries should have a universal standard to be used by electric cars from all manufacturers. In that sense, whoever arrives first sets the model to be followed by others. They are also capital intensive since carmakers have to own a high number of battery packs to be able to replace them. As you probably know, the most expensive part of a battery-electric car is its battery pack.

What is a handicap for automakers is an enormous advantage for consumers. If they do not own the battery packs, they don’t need to worry about their decay or having to replace one, eventually.. So far, no automaker has managed to offer a battery pack replacement that is economically viable: they tend to cost as much as the entire car, if not more.

NIO can sell its cars without batteries. In this case, customers pay to use them with the BaaS (battery as a service). Automakers can make lemonade of the apparent lemon that owning all battery packs implies. When the time comes to recycle them, they still control one of the most valuable assets the electric car offers. Volkswagen recently said it would lease its EVs for as long as possible to keep battery packs in its inventory.

After swapping them 4 million times, NIO has proved its system works. Let’s see how much time it takes to double its production and the number of cars it can sell.

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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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