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Nio Trials Stations to Swap EV Batteries in Under 5 Minutes

The Chinese electric vehicle maker is pushing to make battery swapping a viable alternative to rivals’ rapid-charging technology

A Nio charging station at a store in Beijing, China
A Nio charging station at a store in Beijing, China. Photo: Reuters.


Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio began trial operation of faster, more efficient battery swapping stations in China on Tuesday.

The move is part of Nio’s push to make battery swapping a viable alternative to rival EV makers’ rapid-charging technology.

With capacity to store up to 21 battery packs each, Nio’s Power Swap Station 3.0 can speed up battery swapping to less than five minutes and lower the service cost per swap, Shen Fei, Nio senior vice president for power management, told reporters at an event in Shanghai last Thursday. The comments were embargoed for release on Tuesday.


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Tesla’s rapid-charging Supercharger allows EV users to top up vehicles to a range of 200 miles in 15 minutes.

Battery swapping allows drivers to replace depleted packs quickly with fully charged packs, rather than plugging the vehicle in to a charging point.

Swapping could help to ease the strain on power grids at peak times when drivers recharge. But industry analysts and executives expect it would only become feasible if batteries become more standardised.


Mixed views on battery swapping

Nio is among only a handful of EV makers betting on battery swapping as a major power option for electric cars. Rival Tesla has dismissed battery swapping as “riddled with problems and not suitable for widescale use”.

Nio, which has set a target of 2,300 battery swapping stations globally by year-end, had 1,323 in operation as of March 23, Shen said. It aims for 900 of the latest power swap stations to be operating this year, he added.

Nearly 60% of the power replenished for Nio cars in February was via battery swapping, while another 23% was from home chargers, Shen said.

Fewer than 10% of Nio users used public chargers while 80.5% of the power charged from Nio’s 14,000 chargers nationwide was for non-Nio users, including Tesla and BYD vehicles, he added.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


Also read:

A History of Swapping EV Batteries Since the 1890s

China Puts its Weight Behind Swappable Car Batteries

China’s CATL Launches Fast Battery Swap Service for Electric Cars

Xi’s Remarks on CATL ‘a Warning to Chinese EV Battery Makers’



Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


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