Nio is opening battery swap stations in major Chinese cities this week. This is the company’s latest push to allay fears that electric vehicles are limited due to their inefficient range.

Why it matters: Range is often one of the biggest issues consumers have when considering an electric car. Battery swapping is theoretically a quicker, safer and more convenient choice than a fast charge.

  • Nio is one of the few EV makers that support battery swapping and has invested heavily in urban facilities.
  • Previously, Nio provided swapping points for owners along Chinese highways, while those in urban areas had to rely on battery delivery services.

Details: Nio owners can use a map function within the app to find 23 swapping stations covering nine Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen.

  • The company’s extended network of swapping stations is expected to not only provide better customer experience but also improve the efficiency of its power infrastructure.
  • The firm will adjust expansion plans depending on actual performance, a Nio spokesperson said on Friday.
  • Chinese media reported that it only takes three minutes for a driver to replaces a drained battery with a fully charged one, but customers have to pay RMB 180 ($25) each time, compared with under RMB 50 worth of electricity when using a home charger.
  • Nio boasts 125 battery swap stations nationwide of which 93 are spread over 29 domestic cities.

Context: China has the world largest EV infrastructure network with over 1 million charging piles nationwide but only 1,000 swapping stations.

  • Nio launched its first supercharging station with four piles in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou last month, while also offering valet charging through its fleet of mobile charging vans.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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