NIO’s third generation station swaps battery in 2,5 minutes

Along with introducing two new flagship SUVs, the third generation of battery-swapping stations was shown at the NIO Day 2022 event in Hefei, China. These stations can hold up to 21 charged battery packs (up from 13) and perform 408 swaps a day (+30%), as it now only takes two and a half minutes to do so.

At the same event, NIO unveiled a battery charger of 500 kW, capable of delivering 660 Amps and charging an EV based on an 800 Volts platform (in theory) from 10 to 80% in as little as 12 minutes. For a 400 V EV, that would be 20 minutes, NIO claims. Both the new generation swapping station and the 500 kW charger will be available from March 2023.

Carwash-like automated station

The Chinese electric carmaker is a convinced advocate of swappable batteries, a technology all its models are equipped with. The advantage is that an empty battery can be replaced in an automated carwash-like station in minutes.

While this took about ten minutes, and only five battery packs could be stored in the first generation of NIO’s swapping stations, the next generation cut that ‘swapping time’ to under five minutes with 13 batteries available in storage.

Of these, two were opened recently in the Netherlands (Tilburg and Apeldoorn), and NIO plans a network of 120 Power Swap Stations in Europe by the end of 2023. The premium electric carmaker currently runs 1 286 battery swap stations in China and plans another 400 for 2023.

More computing power

The latest generation we’ll see from March cuts swapping time by another 20% and features more intelligence with two LiDARs and two Nvidia Orin chips for more computing power. It enables more efficient communication between the cars and the station, which operates entirely automatically.

The NIO car can maneuver itself into the box, where a robot changes the battery under the car floor in two-and-a-half 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 with capacities of 75 kWh, 100 kWh, and shortly also 150 kWh 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. The swapping model will allow you to choose a smaller battery for daily commuting and a bigger one for long trips in the future.

Electric hypercar with  1 341 hp

Nio’s first car was the EP9 electric hypercar developed in 18 months with its Formula E racing division. It featured four motors of 250 kW (335.25 hp) on each wheel, giving the car a total power output of 1 MW (1 341 hp). It was presented on the same day in 2016; the brand was launched in London at the Saatchi Gallery.

In September 2021, NIO crossed the oceans to the Old Continent for the first time, introducing the brand in Norway. After Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark were chosen for the initial European launch in October 2022. Other countries, like Belgium, where the NIOs debark in Zeebrugge for the Continent, are to follow later.

Since the production of its first commercial EV in May 2018, the ES8 SUV, the Chinese Shanghai-based brand, has been breaking records of production speed, and the 300 000th car rolled off the production lines on December 12th this year. At the NIO Day 2022, the second generation of the ES8, based on the new NT 2.0 platform, was unveiled together with the new EC7 Coupe SUV.

 

 

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