The Chinese electric cars manufacturer, Nio, has installed the world first car battery replacement station for its vehicles on the G2 highway between Beijing and Shanghai.
According to Nio, which offers its ES8 model in the Chinese market since mid-2018, a total of eight replacement stations will be installed along the 1,000 kilometers that separate the two cities.
Nio Car owners will be able to swap the entire empty-battery pack with a charged one, and thus there will be no need to dock the car at the charging station. The whole process will only take about three minutes. Note here that Tesla, the world-renowned electric car manufacturer, cars take more than 45 minutes to charge its batteries from a docking station. If you opt to charge an electric car from home, it could take overnight or even more than that.
The facilities provided at G2 highway are fully automated and occupy more or less the space of three parking spaces. The company plans the installation of another 18 stations between Beijing and Shenzhen, which, according to them, will significantly facilitate the use of electric vehicles in very long journeys. It will surely help the range anxiety encountered by the owners of electric cars as they have no option to fill the tank with combustible fuel.
It is not clear if this service will be extended to other electric models, currently only compatible model is Nio ES8. However, it is clear that for the future there will be several recharging systems, slow, semi-rapid and fast, or, directly swapping the entire battery module.
The whole battery swapping idea by Nio is not a new one as there were already battery replacement stations in the early years of the twentieth century. However, what is new is the automation and speed of change.
NIO was founded in November 2014 in Shanghai (China) by William Li, with the name of NextEV. The first car presented by NIO was the EP9 sports car, which has broken several world records by being the fastest commercial vehicle in several racing circuits. Besides, NIO has participated in the most prestigious competition of electric cars, Formula E.
Many people speak of NIO as the Chinese Tesla, since there are many parallels between both companies. First, it is driven by a very pushy person (Elon Musk in the case of Tesla, William Li in the case of NIO) with extensive experience in creating companies and investing in the Internet world.
Both companies believe in the electric future, nothing of combustion engines. Both companies started with an expensive sports car and little by little they announced cheaper models to reach the general public. And both believe in a differential fact against the competition: in the case of Tesla its network of superchargers; in the case of NIO, its fast battery change/swap network.
Creating a vehicle brand, designing and manufacturing is a costly business. That’s why there are so few brands of cars in the world. It is a very complicated business with many suppliers, massive investments in design, marketing and manufacturing and very regulated.
Cars/vehicles are one of the few products that have to be approved to be sold. However, in Pakistan, there is an opposite situation; Neither the government regulates the manufacturers, nor plans for the future. Pakistan needs a policy similar to auto policy 2016, but this time it should answer the electric future.