NIO Boosts EV Battery Leases and Exchange Stations Across Europe

Chinese electric vehicle automaker NIO has already rooted its flag in European soil, but is only just getting started with its plans to expand beyond its home turf. The company’s president recently announced that NIO plans to offer battery rental programs and a huge expansion of available swap stations as a strategy to attract more European customers and gain a larger share of the growing battery market. electric vehicles abroad.

NIO is a Chinese technology company specializing in high-end electric vehicles that is now beginning to expand outside of China into new markets in Europe. In addition to providing an all-electric range of SUVs and sedans, NIO remains at the forefront of implementing battery swap technology to support its electric vehicles.

The automaker currently has more than 1,000 exchange stations in China alone and has started implementing them in its new markets. It may one day license the technology to other automakers as well. It recently announced that its third-generation stations have the ability to store energy and send it back to their respective power grids.

In Europe, NIO already sells and delivers electric vehicles in Norway and is expanding sales in Germany this year. Moreover, it has already shared additional expansion plans following the first overseas shipments of its ET7 sedan:

NIO ET7 has set sail in Europe and will be open for reservation and delivery in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, providing more European users with a full service system and benefiting from an enjoyable lifestyle.

As NIO expands its footprint in the EU, it seeks to compete with local legends like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but it has implemented a unique strategy that it hopes will set it apart from its EV rivals.

New ET7 sedans are loaded at a port in China ahead of their trip to Europe / Source: Weibo/NIO

NIO plans 1,000 exchange stations by 2025, mostly in Europe

According to a recent report by ReutersNIO hopes to capture a larger share of the electric vehicle market in Europe by offering consumers lower prices through battery rental programs, supported by an extensive network of electric vehicle battery exchange stations.

According to NIO chairman and co-founder Qin Lihong, the automaker plans to erect 1,000 battery swap stations outside of China over the next three years, most of which will be in Europe to support its expansion. electric vehicle sales in markets like Germany and beyond.

Over the past year, NIO has tested its battery rental and swap station business in Norway with its ES8 SUV – its first model to be sold outside of China. NIO says it has sold 800 ES8s so far, but only installed two swap stations. Almost all customers in Norway have opted for battery leasing.

As a foreign company trying to compete with some European car manufacturers that are approaching their centenary of existence, NIO wants to cut costs so that consumers give them a fair look. Regardless of this uphill battle for brand recognition, Qin remains confident in NIO’s technology:

We are far ahead of our competitors in terms of products and services. It’s true that there will be more EV models launching in Europe in three years, but we are also making more progress.

Qin said NIO’s first overseas factory opened in Hungary this week and will manufacture battery swap stations for the European market because shipping them from China is too expensive. If NIO can set up sufficient battery swapping infrastructure in Europe, it could offer a huge selling point to EU consumers, as they don’t have to buy an expensive EV battery, have the warranty of a fully charged battery with every swap and are back on the road much faster than a stop at a charging pile, even if it’s a DC fast charger.

Finally, Qin shared that part of NIO’s strategy for Europe includes finding a specialist asset management partner to finance the ownership of batteries for lease to EU customers, especially more than these customers inevitably increase with its planned expansion of the market.

Next, NIO will begin rolling out its ET7 and ET5 sedans in Europe while continuing to expand its network of battery swapping stations. Beware of Mercedes, BMW and VW, as NIO’s chairman says he already has a tech lead and is picking you up from home:

It’s like two runners following in their footsteps. If you have a good lead, you just have to keep your own pace.

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