NIO Battery Swap Network Open to More Brands
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NIO Battery Swap Network Open to More Brands

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  • NIO’s battery swap network wants to welcome other EV brands to use its swap stations.
  • The brand will require buy-in from these other brands, but it will be treated much like a cloud service.
  • In about two to three years, a variety of EV owners could swap out their batteries at stations throughout China.

Battery swaps aren’t very common here in the U.S. But China’s more robust EV market has allowed for broader charging infrastructure, including battery swaps. Now, the NIO battery swap network is looking to open up to other car brands.

NIO’s founder and CEO, William Li, said in an interview earlier this month that the brand has had discussions with other carmakers about the idea. These talks have been about sharing and building out a wider battery swap infrastructure that would go beyond just NIO-branded cars. He compared such a service to a cloud service, like those by Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or Huawei. Essentially, NIO wants other companies to share and build the infrastructure alongside it. He calls this battery swap model “battery as a service (BaaS)”.

Li explained that NIO’s battery swap stations do have a degree of adaptability. This makes it feasible for the company to offer battery swap services to other car companies. Currently, other brands of EVs already use 80% of the power provided by NIO’s charging stations. So basically, this would be a natural extension of NIO’s open approach to charging.

However, to use the brand-agnostic NIO battery swap network, other automakers would need to design their vehicle chassis based on the specs of NIO’s own battery packs. But Li says that the NIO battery swap network does have a fair degree of adaptability. He feels that it’s time to work with outside brands to further the goal of wider electrification.

Li met with several company executives who asked how NIO could work together with other companies. He explained that the battery swap service requires two to three years to be sorted out internally before it can be fully realized. In the meantime, NIO will work on making sure its system is open. It also will ensure that the hardware, software, and operational interfaces of its swap stations can eventually handle different brands.


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