Chinese electric car manufacturer Nio has developed an ultra-fast and automated battery swap system.
When Nio boasts that it can charge its cars in just five minutes, it’s not super-fast charging technology, but simply replacing its empty battery with one that’s ready to go. The principle is to come and park in a dedicated place in an exchange station. The operation is carried out fully automatically. The ground opens under the car and a machine comes to recover the old used battery before replacing it with another charged to 100%. It takes less than five minutes. The old battery will in turn be recharged and then reassembled on another vehicle later. For motorists, there is no faster solution today.
4000 battery exchange stations worldwide by 2025
Obviously, only Nio models are compatible with this system, and to be able to benefit from it, you must take out a battery rental. Several formulas are offered depending on the type of battery used. For the moment, a few stations are available in Norway and Germany, before a much larger deployment planned for next year. Nio hopes to launch more than 4,000 battery exchange stations worldwide by 2025. While the phenomenon is still new in Europe, in China a thousand battery exchange stations of this type have already been installed, mainly near expressways.
Even if it is much more sophisticated and 100% automatic here, these charging stations take up the concept of removable batteries for electric scooters, the first dedicated stations of which have also recently been inaugurated in Europe.
Note that Nio’s activities in Europe are still confidential, with the ES 8, an electric SUV, as the only model available. Other models, including an electric sedan, are however expected from 2023.