Chinese EV manufacturer NIO says that 60 percent of drivers using its electric cars prefer swapping their EV’s battery at a quick change station rather than plugging in and recharging.
The Asian car maker bet big on battery swap stations since its inception in 2014 and says that more and more drivers of its models want to take a trip to a battery swapping station. The data comes from over 6.2 billion miles (10 billion kilometres) driven by NIO vehicles in China and Europe, where the car brand operates 1,383 Power Swap Stations.
NIO says that the huge distance travelled by its vehicles, which amounts to more than 26,000 trips to the moon and back, confirms its commitment to investing in a power swapping network, contrary to what some critics have to say about the solution.
Gallery: NIO Battery Swap Stations
NIO’s latest, third-generation station is capable of doing 408 swaps per day, 30 percent more than the previous iteration, with a swap happening every 1.6 seconds on average among the whole network.
The company’s Power Swap Stations enable vehicles to autonomously park into the station and switch for a fresh, fully-charged pack in less than five minutes. Compared to a conventional recharge from a DC fast charger, this is arguably a faster approach if you’re in a hurry and running low on power.
Earlier this month, the Chinese car brand performed the 20 millionth swap, which was completed at the NIO Power Swap Station at Wuchang Service Center in Hangzhou, China.
“Reaching this landmark is a proud moment that confirms NIO is a trusted and proven solution for our loyal users,” said the carmaker’s CEO Wiliam Li. “Our compelling range of power solutions, such as our battery swap stations, offers the freedom to travel freely, knowing a robust power solution is never far away.”
Moving forward, the Asian brand plans to open around 1,000 more stations in China and up to 70 more in Europe by the end of the year, all while offering a Battery-as-a-Service (Baas) option which basically means the owners of the EVs have to pay a monthly fee for the batteries. For the monthly subscription, NIO offers maintenance and potential upgrades for the packs.