By Michael Elkins
Chinese electric vehicle company, Nio Inc. (NYSE: NIO ) began trial operation of its faster, more efficient battery-swapping stations in China on Tuesday in the company’s push to make battery swapping a viable alternative to rapid-charging technology.
Nio's new Power Swap Station 3.0 holds the capacity to store up to 21 battery packs each and can speed up battery swapping to less than five minutes and lower the service cost per swap, Shen Fei, Nio senior vice president for power management, told reporters at an event in Shanghai.
Battery swapping allows drivers to replace depleted packs quickly with fully charged packs, rather than plugging the vehicle into a charging point. Swapping could help to ease the strain on power grids at peak times when drivers recharge, but industry analysts and executives expect it would only become feasible if batteries become more standardized.
Nio, which has set a target of 2,300 battery swapping stations globally by year-end, had 1,323 in operation as of March 23, Shen said. It aims for 900 of the latest power swap stations to be operating this year, he added.
Nearly 60% of the power replenished for Nio cars in February was via battery swapping, while another 23% was from home chargers, Shen said.
Fewer than 10% of Nio users used public chargers while 80.5% of the power charged from Nio's 14,000 chargers nationwide was for non-Nio users, including Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) and BYD (SZ: 002594 ) vehicles, he added.
Shares of NIO are up 2.24% in pre-market trading on Tuesday.
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