NIO? Very cool battery swapping apporach

NIO? Very cool battery swapping apporach

One of the biggest complaints about driving Electric car is the amount of time you have to wait for charging
Just saw this video about NIO ->
Love how they offer the flexibility of swapping battery! Which is awesome!! matter of minutes able to get on the road!!!
what a great concept and a potential threat for Tesla if NIO is introduced here.

thoughts? | 20 februari 2020

Nothing new, and it's failed several times it's been tried. Even Tesla tried to do battery swapping with the Model S, but almost no one used it (although there are many reasons for this too).

Almost anyone that has owned an EV has found the charging time a real non-issue. Yes, it may take 30 minutes to charge to get to your next location, but when timed right, you can have a meal, take your dog for a run and generally find the trip far more relaxing.

Swapping stations are about 100 times more expensive to build than a charging stall, then you need to stock it with expensive batteries. This becomes a capital intensive mess. The fees are going to be a lot higher to pay for all this too. So you do pay $5 to charge up yourself or pay $75 to get a temporary battery of unknown condition that saves you a few minutes?

reed_lewis | 22 februari 2020

The issue is that people who have not had EVs for a long period of time think of them as gasoline cars where they need to fuel them out of the home. But an EV is a completely different device. You charge it at home and never have to charge it outside the home expect for long trips.

Using an EV and charging outside the home on a daily basis is like charging your cell phone somewhere else.

And for the few times when I take a longer trip, the stops for charging are actually beneficial.

SO | 22 februari 2020

As others have stated, range issue really isn’t a problem with a Tesla. Besides, I know exactly how my battery has been taken care of in my car. No way would I want to swap that out.

reed_lewis | 22 februari 2020

Agreed @SO - For me, I save time with a Tesla compared to a gasoline car. I would have to use over 1000 minutes a year filling an ICE car with 'dead dinosaur juice' for the ~22k miles a year I drive. OTOH I probably average less than 300 minutes of Super Charging with the few trips I do which are more than the range of my Teslas.

Plus I never have to hold that cold gas pump handle in the middle of winter, worry about the price of gasoline going up, and never have to smell gasoline (well except for the mower and snowthrower).

My Model S 75D has 70K miles on it, and has lost 10 miles of range (259 -> 249) which is quite acceptable to me.

SamO | 22 februari 2020


I don’t think Tesla’s swap station cost $25M vs $250,000 for a 10 stall Supercharger.

It was a converted car wash with a handful of packs inside. | 22 februari 2020

@SamO - Yep, I was thinking around $5M per stall, as opposed to $25K for a Supercharger stall. You do need fewer battery swap stations, likely a 1:5 ratio or so. With these numbers, the battery swap is about 40 times the cost of Supercharger. Easy to change those numbers. Perhaps you can make it cheaper by taking over some facilities rather than making one from scratch. Location can make a huge difference too, as a battery swap station takes up a lot more real estate than Supercharger stalls. The ratio of Supercharger stalls could also tilt this a bit one way or the other.

David N | 22 februari 2020

Let’s wait and see how this plays out for NIO and it’s customers.
Are these going to be 24/7 like a Supercharger ?
If not, how do you get a swap when they’re closed and you need juice?. Maybe a charger on the property?
I would assume this swap requires some employees ?
This means higher cost in maintaining (labor costs).
Is the swap for only one model or will other offerings use the same battery size?
I wonder what happens when technology changes and they need to carry different batteries for different cars with different battery chemistry.
It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.
We all know that it certainly sounds nice . But in reality there are some issues.
Certainly wish them well in their quest. | 22 februari 2020

@David - Perhaps a bigger question is if NIO will survive. They are not doing great, and while I think they have a good product for the Chinese market, it's a very tough market. The automotive segment is also massively capital intensive and this latest downturn could prove fatal to some of the Chinese brands. Might bring a lot of hurt others too. I expect even Tesla will be affected, but far less than others. Tesla is more likely to have less growth than they would like, but growth in this market is gold. Others will be in steep Year-over-year declines.

rxlawdude | 22 februari 2020

@TTap +1 | 22 februari 2020

@rxlawdude - can you shoot me an email at voting@ my name? A question for you offline.

DonS | 22 februari 2020

Battery swap looks good when there is only one type. As chemistry, form factor, and capacity evolve, inventory costs make this a very expensive model to maintain. With the dozens of 12V battery types in existence, I cannot believe EV packs have any chance at standardization.

Earl and Nagin ... | 22 februari 2020

The biggest challenge with battery swap is safely, precisely, cheaply, and quickly moving a 1,000 lb object on a regular basis.

BuffaloBillsFan | 23 februari 2020

I am seriously confused . . . Would swapping the entire underside of my M3P take less time than simply charging for 15-30 minutes? I can’t imagine it would, and repeatedly swapping the underside of my car would probably lead to longer term wear and tear. Swapping batteries makes no sense to me at all (unless newer versions of Tesla models come up with a plug-and-play battery pack — even then, I can’t see how that would be beneficial in the longer term . . .). Switching the M3 battery as is seems to me to be nonsensical, with higher costs and zero benefit. If I am reading this post wrong, I apologize . . .

Geico | 23 februari 2020

Swapping batteries was about the stupidest idea ever concocted. The charge times now are at max 1 hour 10 minutes if you really wanna wait until full, but typically no more than 45 minutes. Gives you just enough time to go eat and relax for a few minutes, I have taken my Model 3 across the country.

Out of those 30+ supercharging stops, not once did I wish after driving for four hours for it to hurry up and finish quicker than 45 minutes. 45 minutes isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, and with the way things are going soon the max wait will only be 30 minutes. Most people when they stop to get gas spend 15-20 minutes at a gas station. | 23 februari 2020

Unless you buy at Costco, then you may wait in line even longer :)

Also consider when you charge while traveling, you plug in and leave to do something else - about 5-seconds. When you gas up, you have to wait in your car in line, get out and pay and fuel. All this time you can't be doing anything else. So even in the best case - 5-10 minutes or so, fueling consumes far more useful time than charging does.

Yodrak. | 23 februari 2020

"Would swapping the entire underside of my M3P take less time than simply charging for 15-30 minutes?"

No. But if you'd bought a Model S ...

"The charge times now are at max 1 hour 10 minutes if you really wanna wait until full, but typically no more than 45 minutes. Gives you just enough time to go eat and relax for a few minutes"

I've never spent more than 45 minutes charging my Model S 75D on a road trip, typically 20-30 minutes. And I've never been able to have a meal on the road without having to go out and move the car out of a Supercharger even when upping the maximum charge to 100%.

"even in the best case - 5-10 minutes or so, fueling consumes far more useful time than charging does."


NKYTA | 23 februari 2020

Real world.

blue adept | 23 februari 2020


Not only would it require an expansive facility build-out (MAJOR up front investment) to be anything even remotely approaching practical serviceability, it would also be supply constrained and labor intensive.

In the final analysis following the careful consideration of several factors concerning real-world applicability the whole "battery swapping approach" is simply not that practical or tenable whether anyone thinks it a "cool" idea or not, @artc1688.

Propwash | 24 februari 2020

I used to drive electric mules and forklifts for the USPS . I had to wait in line for the swap while the maintenance guy would remove and install the batteries. it was a slow 20 to 30 minute process with allot of bumping and banging on my mule's frame work. I don't think this is a viable fix.

Uncle Paul | 24 februari 2020

Most drivers, given the choice of paying $75 plus 5-10 minutes, to swap out their mostly empty battery for a full one, or simply plugging in for 30 minutes and getting 200 miles of charge for either FREE or $12, would choose to plug in.

Can't imagine this ever being successful.

Once you get used to stopping to charge once in a while, it becomes just part of the journey.

Zeus140 | 26 februari 2020

Since I charge at home, Supercharging in the road is a convenience. When on a long trip, the superchargers are near facilities that I would use anyway. Actually when driving my old (APE) car, I would spend 5 minutes filling the tank, 5 minutes finding a place to park, 10 minutes to walk to and use the facilities, 20 minutes to buy food or drink, a few minutes to walk back to the car.
So I don't really notice a difference.
(APE = Amazingly Polluting Engine)

TabascoGuy | 26 februari 2020

@Zeus140 (APE) +100

Although my first thought was Antique Petroleum Engine.

blue adept | 26 februari 2020

Either or works.

Seanderson | 26 februari 2020

Just for the record, Tesla back in 2013 had develeoped a battery swapping technique that was very fast:

However, it's currently very costly to build out literally thousands of these swapping stations... and battery technology has evolved from 2013 to the point that we are on the brink of breakthru battery tech that will be lighter in weight, cheaper and environmentally friendlier.

blue adept | 26 februari 2020

Yeah, covered that in the first reply to this thread.

It is also worth noting that it was through their earlier explorations into optimum battery charging options that they were able to determine the impracticality of battery swapping as an option.

SamO | 26 februari 2020

Not impractical at all. Simply zero demand when Supercharging was free.

blue adept | 26 februari 2020

I don't think that you're looking at it from the costs of build-out and supplies perspective. Never mind the manpower and unavailability of facilities, just picture the scope of the grunt work that would be involved in catering to people's anxiety and daily demands and how that would grow exponentially as more and more people adopted the EV platform as their primary mode of transportation.