When NIO coursed out its plan for electric vehicle growth and consumer convenience, it broke ranks from the rest of the electric vehicle industry. The company decided it would provide a battery swapping option in addition to conventional EV charging. I, like many, wondered early on if this would actually work. After all, the Israeli startup Better Place, which focused on battery swapping, folded after a few years, and Tesla claimed that its drivers didn’t show much interest in a route in California where the company trialled it (though, there is a bit of controversy around that story). But one thing has been clear in the past couple of years, NIO is happy with and proud of its battery swapping innovations — and the company has a ton of battery swapping stations in the field now.
In total, as of May 1, NIO had 1,384 battery swapping stations in operation in China. (The company also has some in operation in Europe now.) Of those 1,384 battery swapping stations, 366 are located along highways, clearly aimed at aiding quick and convenient long-distance travel in a NIO EV.
During Labor Day week, we got to see what that means as far as customer use. NIO reports that 432,191 battery swap services were performed during that holiday week, 138,552 of them being free (complimentary) battery swaps. The most were performed on the first day of the holiday — 68,748 on April 29, 23,460 of them done at highway swapping stations. More than 60,000 swaps were performed during 6 of those 7 days, and then the last day of the week saw 48,458 swaps to tip the total over 400,000.
Needless to say, NIO customers appreciate the battery swapping option, and use it! These EV drivers could have charged their cars at charging stations instead, but they chose to do quick battery swaps.
As far as the free/complimentary swapping mentioned above, some early NIO buyers got unlimited battery swapping as part of the package when they bought their cars. However, most NIO owners currently have an allowance of 4–6 battery swap sessions a month. Naturally, a holiday weekend is a popular time to cash in on those swapping sessions.
In late January, NIO set a record with 62,356 battery swaps performed in a single day. Clearly, that was surpassed by the 68,748 battery swaps performed on April 29. However, more notably, that January record was surpassed on 5 separate days during Labor Day week. NIO’s EV sales continue to grow, and so do its EV battery swaps. I imagine that next year the company could break 100,000 battery swaps in a single day.
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