SAIC’s Rising brand’s battery swap customers rebel

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Nio is not the only brand to offer battery swapping. One other brand that does offer battery swapping is SAIC-owned Rising. Helping show the lead that Nio has, Rising is now facing criticism from owners due to false promises. In an open letter to SAIC a Rising R7 owner has demanded action on the battery swapping issue.

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The owner appears to be an early Rising R7 purchaser having ordered the car when it was launched in 2022 and joined the Rising RBS power rental program. At that time SAIC was heavily publicizing its battery swap station construction plan. This said that 40 such stations would be built in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing and Zhengzhou in 2022. An additional 300 stations in 2023 and that by 2025 there would be nearly 3,000 swap stations.

Despite the grand plans the reality Is very different, as to date SAIC has built and put into operation 26 battery swap stations, of which seventeen are in Shanghai. The most recent one was launched on January 30 of this year since which there have been no new stations. Furthermore, it appears there will be no new ones in the future.

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Currently battery swap customers are paying either 1260 (175 USD) or 1560 yuan (215 USD) per month which includes a service fee of 80 yuan (11 USD) a month. This is claimed to be higher than the battery rental fee of other brands. Presumably, the two different amounts are for different-sized battery capacities, currently the R7 (see specs) is sold with 77 and 90 kWh battery packs.

Owners who called the Rising helpline and inquired about the progress of battery swap stations were always fed with the statement that they were in planning.

Rising customers have received no service over the last few years and have been responsible for paying high battery rental charges. They have responded by making four demands.

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Firstly SAIC should immediately reduce the battery rent to the industry average. Furthermore, there should be rent reductions or exemptions for car owners in areas without battery swap stations until the battery swap station is completed, and immediately stop charging the service fee.

Secondly, if there is no plan for new battery swap stations the owners of the cars should be clearly informed of this rather than prevaricating with the under planning message that keeps being communicated.

The final two demand refer to owners who want to stop renting the battery. It seems the owners are demanding that they can buy out the battery without the handling fee and compensation. They say that this is because of the rollout of the Rising swap stations being so slow. For owners who want to withdraw from the RBS plan they should be able to return the battery with no fees being charged except for the rent payable with the other charges being stopped.

The letter says that if SAIC continues to ignore the reasonable demands of owners then the owners will unite and take legal action to sue SAIC. As yet SAIC’s Rising unit has yet to respond to the demands.

Editor’s note:

As we noted last week in the article about Nio’s Firefly brand no other company has rolled out a significant number of battery swap stations for private customers. While the situation with SAIC’s Rising brand perhaps goes to show that Nio really does have a commanding position i.e. a winner-takes-all position when it comes to battery swapping equally it can show that battery swapping is a dead end due to the cost of rolling out a battery swapping network.

In the article last week, we noted that it is very common for companies in China to make a major statement but when you follow up a year later nothing has come of the plan. The plan by SAIC’s Rising brand is a very good example of this.

Source: Fast Technology

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