Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer NIO has signed an agreement with Geely Auto to establish a network of automatic express replacement stations for electric vehicle traction batteries. We would like to remind you that Geely is one of the largest private automobile manufacturers in China, which also includes the Swedish brand Volvo in the passenger car segment. The new agreement follows a similar agreement with Changan Auto signed last week.
The terms of cooperation between these companies include the exchange of experience, as well as the joint creation of a network of stations for the rapid replacement of traction batteries of electric vehicles in order to ensure mutual compatibility of standards and technologies. At the same time, NIO will not refuse to build its own network of express battery changing stations. A year ago, there were already more than 1,200 such stations in China, which allow car owners to top up the range of an electric vehicle in just five minutes by fully automatically replacing a discharged traction battery with a charged one – there is no need to get out of the car need, all the work is done by special manipulators by removing the traction battery from under the floor of the electric vehicle and replacing it with a new one.
This year, NIO initially expected to build 400 of these stations, but later decided to increase the target to 1,000 units, despite weak financial performance that led the company to decide to cut 10% of its workforce. Collaborating with two other automakers will help NIO more quickly justify the cost of building express traction battery replacement stations.
Each of these stations reportedly cost NIO $420,000 and would need to serve at least 50 customers per day to justify construction over eight years. Achieving this number when sharing stations with other electric vehicle manufacturers will be much easier, especially given the size of Geely’s business, which includes the brands Volvo, Lotus, Zeekr, Lynk & Co, Polestar, Geometry, Proton and several other smaller brands include. well-known brands outside Asia. Region. NIO was founded in 2014 but has not yet broken even. Consolidation in the industry is inevitable, at least at the shared infrastructure level, and the desire of most automakers to switch to the NACS charging port in the North American market is a clear example of this.