Competition among electric vehicle manufacturers in China is really strong and not only for the vehicles they build, but also for the services they can provide. EV startup Nio already has over 1,000 battery-swapping stations in China, but now it also wants to roll out its own network of rapid chargers. According to a new report will be able to provide up to 500 kW, surpassing rivals from GAC Aion with their 480 kW charger, by 20 kW.75
The new Nio ultra-rapid charger will have be able to output a maximum current of 650 amps, which means maximum voltage is somewhere just shy of 800 volts (around 770 volts, according to our calculations). Nio did not say how quickly this would be able to charge its EVs, especially since none of them seem to be able to currently take more than 90 kW.
The company is planning to launch a 150 kWh solid state battery pack for its models, so maybe that may be able to take 500 kW, because right now it just seems to have announced it to match statements made by rivals that are also going to launch similarly powerful chargers in the near future. Aside from the aforementioned GAC Aion, XPeng is also rolling out its own 480 kW chargers, putting the pressure on Nio to come into match it.
Gallery: NIO Battery Swap Stations
And as one Reuters report pointed out, Nio did recently also announce that starting in 2024 it will begin manufacturing of its own 800 volt batteries for EVs, which most likely are not solid-state. However, they should allow for much higher charging speeds than in today's ET7 or ES8.
Nio is currently much more heavily reliant on its vast (and continually growing) network of swapping stations that can put a fresh battery pack in one of the compatible EVs in as little as 3 minutes. Perhaps this is why Nio didn’t focus so much on providing the highest charging speed on the market, although the battery-as-a-service model may not work as well in Europe or the US where premium EV buyers expect a very fast rate of charge these days.
During the second ever Nio Power Day event, a venue inspired by Tesla’s Battery Day presentation, the Chinese automaker announced not only that its ultra-rapid charger would be 20 kW more powerful than rivals’ but it also teased its third-generation swapping stations. They are expected to begin being installed starting towards the end of 2022 or early next year and they will allow for more battery packs to be kept at each location, as well as allow for additional flexibility that is currently not possible.