Chinese car maker Nio launches swappable battery service for EVs

Electric car manufacturer Nio is launching a battery swapping service that it says reduces the cost of EVs while offering buyers more flexibility and longevity from their car.

Called Battery as a Service, it allows buyers to purchase a car without the battery, bringing the cost of entry down. Owners can then subscribe to a battery separately, which means they can pay less for a small capacity battery for day to day duties, then swap into a larger capacity if planning longer trips.

Nio EV Battery
Nio EV Battery

It also future proofs the car, because as technology develops, new battery technology can be swapped in.

Another benefit cited by the company is that it removes concerns about battery degradation. Every time a battery is discharged and recharged it loses a little capacity, which can add up over time. This solution means concerns about resale value with a degraded battery are removed.

Nio says it has more than 1,200 patents related to battery swapping, and has a network of 143 Power Swap stations across China. It has already completed more than 80,000 battery swaps.

At the moment, Nio doesn’t sell any cars outside China, though it does have global research and development centres and manufacturing facilities in cities around the world, including London.

In June, the company’s president Lihong Qin told Automotive News Europe that the firm is planning to expand into Asian markets around China initially with a view to entering Europe in the second half of 2021. It hopes to be in ‘the main markets globally’ by around 2023.