The Chinese electric car manufacturer Nio plans to set up battery swap stations in Germany by the end of the year. After the launch in Norway, other European countries are to follow. At the stations, an empty battery can be exchanged for a full one within a short time.
Nio battery swap stations coming to Germany
After the Chinese e-car manufacturer Nio opened its first battery exchange station in Lier, Norway, in January 2022, it is now planning to expand to additional European countries. In addition to Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, corresponding stations are also to be built in Germany this year.
Speaking to Electric Car Magazine Edison, Hui Zhang, Nio’s European chief executive, said that Berlin and Munich had been selected as the first locations. In co-operation with the mineral oil company Shell one wants to offer appropriate change stations at participating gas stations.
In China, 860 of these “Power Swap” stations have already been opened, at which, according to the company, 7.6 million battery changes have already been completed. The concept has been well received by customers, it adds. Although Nio electric vehicles can also be charged conventionally, at the battery swap stations the vehicles would be supplied with a new battery in top condition in around six minutes and could continue their journey.
Battery change in 5 minutes and 20 seconds
Changing the battery in the Nio ES8 electric SUV takes just 5 minutes and 20 seconds at the changing station in Norway. In the process, the vehicle parks itself in reverse, is lifted slightly and fixed in place, whereupon the battery wrenches go into action fully automatically.
“Before you know it, the ten screws holding the 500-kilogram battery in the vehicle floor are loosened and the energy storage unit is lifted out of the car by the robot,” Edison explains.
At any given time in Lier, Norway, a total of 13 battery packs were waiting for their customers under optimal conditions, charged particularly gently only at 40 kW to a maximum of 80 kW for maximum possible service life. The power station can handle up to 162 charging processes per day.
The entire changeover is fully automatic. The Nio e-car drives up to the gate on its own and parks. As the driver, all you have to do is confirm the battery change request on the built-in touchscreen; the vehicle does everything else on its own.
In Norway, Nio offers its cars with leased batteries. 200 kilowatt hours, or two battery changes per month, are already included in the lease agreement. In the case of the Nio ES8, the contract calls for 1,999 Norwegian kroner, the equivalent of about 209 euros, for the 100 kWh battery.
Each additional battery change is billed at 100 Norwegian kroner, or just under 10 euros. However, the leased batteries also reduce the selling price of the E-SUV. Instead of the equivalent of around 71,000 euros, the ES8 with battery leasing contract will only cost around 54,000 euros. This is one of the reasons why 96 percent of all drivers in Norway choose the leasing option.
What the conditions will be for the launch of the Nio ET7 in October has not yet been revealed. The manufacturer’s first battery exchange stations should then also start operating in Germany at the end of the year.