Nio’s charging network expansion: collaborating with Geely and reducing battery swap fees

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The continuous growth of electric vehicle (EV) ownership puts pressure on the charging network, and open and interconnected charging networks among automakers are emerging as a solution. On March 27th, Nio and Geely Group announced further cooperation in charging network interconnection. Through the brand’s app, users of Geely’s vehicles can access real-time information about Nio’s charging stations and complete operations like scanning for charging and making payments.

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According to the “McKinsey 2024 China Automotive Consumer Insights” report, economically developed provinces and cities have a lower ratio of new EVs to public charging stations than other areas, partially alleviating the supply-demand relationship for charging in those regions. However, the ratio has significantly increased in different provinces and cities, leading to a more strained charging resource situation.

Nio, a leading automaker in developing charging networks, has taken action. It has established partnerships for battery swapping with various companies and plans to build 1,000 battery-swapping stations in collaboration with Zhongan Energy. By October last year, Nio had already established over 2000 swap stations.

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In addition, it was announced today that Nio has reduced the fee for its battery swap program. The BaaS (battery-as-a-service) model is one of Nio’s most controversial programs, with some users praising the program while others claim it is not practical on a large scale. Nio offers two options for car buyers: standard purchase and subscription. The subscription service saw its first markdown today, making it more affordable and available retroactively to subscribers. The first tier subscriptions now cost 582 RMB (80 USD), down from 728 RMB (100 USD).

The interconnection between Nio and Geely in the charging network may set a trend for automakers to open up their dedicated charging stations to other brands. Tesla has already started doing so by opening its charging network to non-Tesla EVs and expanding the scale of shared charging stations.

Detailed strategies and arrangements are necessary to ensure a smooth transition to open charging networks. These may include setting exclusive charging hours for specific brands, adjusting charging service fees for other brands, and implementing measures to manage peak hours and prevent conflicts over charging stations among different brands and vehicle types.

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Opening charging stations is considered a necessary step to improve charging efficiency. It allows for better resource utilization and promotes the development of a comprehensive and accessible charging network for all EV owners. More collaborations among Chinese automakers are sure to follow.

Source: CDZ Vision & Gao Cars

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