Up-and-coming Chinese EV maker NIO is partnering with Geely, the company behind Volvo, Polestar, and several other brands for EV battery swapping.
Volvo owner taps NIO for EV battery swapping
NIO and Geely will collaborate on EV battery standards, new swapping tech, and network expansion. They will also tackle “swappable model development” and battery management.
Battery swapping can help EV drivers get back on the road quickly by replacing a depleted pack with a fully charged one.
NIO says the process can be done in as little as 3 minutes compared to fast charging, which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
According to the press release Wednesday, Geely and NIO will work through a “co-investment, co-construction, shared, co-operative” model.
The plans include developing two battery-swapping standards and accelerating the tech for a convenient, safe experience. Both companies will develop EVs compatible with each other’s battery swap systems.
Geely has around 300 stations up and running and will continue to expand its network. The company said in 2021, it aimed to establish 5,000 swap stations by 2025.
NIO Power Swap station in the Netherlands (Source: NIO)
“This strategic partnership will further popularize battery swapping, bring quality and convenient battery swapping experience to more users and contribute to the steady development of the smart EV industry,” said William Li, NIO’s CEO.
NIO expands battery swapping to improve profits
Geely is the second company to partner with NIO. Last week, NIO revealed a partnership with Changan Auto to expand the network.
The news comes as NIO looks to expand its brand and improve profitability. NIO said it would trim staff by 10% earlier this month amid “fierce competition.”
NIO EL6 (Source: NIO)
NIO and others in the Chinese EV market are feeling the pressure after leaders like Tesla and BYD drastically slashed prices this year.
In June, NIO cut prices by $4,200 (30,000 yuan) to keep up. However, the EV maker is facing falling margins and profits amid stronger competition. NIO’s losses reached $835M in Q2, up 199% from last year.
After a $1B convertible debt offering in Sept, NIO said it would use the capital to “further strengthen its balance sheet.” At the end of June, NIO had around $1.9B in cash and equivalents.
You can learn more about NIO’s new battery swap tech in the video below.
Despite the struggles, NIO continues to expand its brand. NIO is one of the only major players in the battery swap space, which could prove to be a major advantage going forward.
Similar to how Tesla was a first mover in the US with its Supercharger network, NIO is doing the same with battery swapping. As of last week, NIO has built over 2,100 power swap stations globally.
With Volvo and Polestar’s Geely joining in, we could see others looking to join NIO’s network. We’ll keep you posted on the latest.
Keyword: Volvo, Polestar owner partners with NIO for EV battery swapping