Chinese electric carmaker NIO has opened a second battery swapping station in the Netherlands in Apeldoorn, near the 50 highway at the Hotel Van der Valk Exclusief parking. The first one opened two weeks ago in Tilburg near the Belgian border.
NIO wants to roll out a network of 120 Power Swap Stations in Europe by the end of 2023. In these stations, an empty battery can be swapped for a fully charged one in less than five minutes entirely automatically. NIO already runs a network of +1 200 swap stations in China and has managed some 14 million swaps.
Balancing the grid as extra
The Power Swap Station is the size of a double garage box and can store 13 charged batteries. It’s comparable to a carwash where you drive in, and everything is automated. In this case, the NIO car can maneuver itself into the box, where a robot changes the battery under the car floor in minutes and store the empty one for recharging to be used by the next car.
All NIO cars are designed from the ground up to share the same battery packs that are ‘swappable’. It has the advantage – certainly for professionals like taxi drivers – of having a completely charged battery in less time than it takes to fuel a classic car with a combustion engine.
And as the battery is rented and checked at every swap automatically, you’re sure to have a performing battery, regardless of the car’s age, says NIO. A swap station like the ones in Tilburg and Apeldoorn can perform 312 swaps a day and act as a stationary battery to balance the grid. In theory, it can store 1,3 MWh with 13 of its biggest batteries.
Purchase option with battery renting
In October, NIO delivered in the Netherlands its first ET7 sedan with the new monthly subscription model for Europe. When you want to subscribe to NIO’s ET7 flagship, we’re talking about monthly prices that can vary between €1 275,44 to €1 719,22, depending on the formula chosen.
After Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark were chosen for the initial European launch. Other countries, like Belgium, where the NIOs debark in Zeebrugge for the Continent, are to follow later.
In November, the Chinese premium electric carmaker opened its offer in Europe with a purchase option and battery renting. Prices start at €51 900 for the smaller ET5, €72 900 for the flagship sedan ET7, and €76 900 for the EL7 SUV, all without the battery. You can rent the 75 kWh battery pack for €169 per month or a 100 kWh pack for €289.
This Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS), as it is called, allows you to swap your empty battery for a fully charged one in five minutes at an NIO Power Swap Station. For those who want to ‘own’ the battery, the purchase price is set at €12 000 for the 75 kWh battery and €21 000 for the 100 kWh pack. But the option to swap the battery only applies to those renting them.
All three NIO models offered in Europe can be configured with the two battery sizes. The swapping model will allow you to choose a smaller battery for daily commuting and a bigger one for long trips in the future.
With the 100 kWh battery, NIO claims a WLTP range of 560 km for its ET7. The ET5 will get you a range of 445 km (WLTP) with the small battery and 580 km with the 100 kWh pack. The SUV version of the flagship sedan, called EL7, offers a limited range of 394 km with a 75 kWh battery and 513 km with the long-range pack.