As of November 7, NIO customers can pre-order their new cars with a 100 kWh battery. But what of current NIO owners? Can they get in on the fun? Thanks to NIO’s battery as a service philosophy, the answer is yes. Owners who have the 70 kWh battery installed in their cars can upgrade to the new 100 kWh battery for a one time fee of $8,774. or they can pay for it in monthly installments of $133. They also have the option of paying a yearly fee of $1,207. When installed in the EC6, the company’s most efficient model. range on a single charge with the 100 kWh battery is 382 miles NEDC. (EPA range is typically about 30% less.)
NIO customers have other options as well. They can buy a car without a battery will save $19,365 off the price of the car. Then they can opt for the 100 kWh battery on a subscription basis for $224 a month. The 70 kWh battery costs $148 a month on a subscription basis.
What is interesting about the “battery as a service” approach is that drivers can swap one size battery for another at any time at one of NIO’s 158 automated battery exchange centers located throughout China. The process takes about 6 minutes. To date, NIO has performed nearly 1.2 million battery swaps. Theoretically, a driver who uses the car for short trips most of the time can opt for the smaller battery and save money every month. But when the time comes to visit family in the provinces, the 100 kWh battery can be swapped in for a month or two. No other manufacturer offers such flexibility.
The new 100 kWh battery utilizes NIO’s patented cell to pack technology, which has a 37% higher energy density than the 70 kWh battery. To date, NIO has been awarded more than 300 patents pertaining to the larger battery, which features better thermal runaway management, a highly integrated design that streamlines the manufacturing by 40% and improves space utilization by 20%. It also has an all climate thermal management that improves the performance and extends the lifetime of the battery and a cloud based bi-directional battery management system that supports smart adjustments based on actual conditions to improve the battery’s performance under all circumstances. The battery as a service model has allowed NIO to be highly competitive in the premium sector of the electric car market.