NIO charging - 100kW in 3 minutes.

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,685
South Puget Sound, WA
China is surging ahead in electric vehicle sales and infrastructure. There are several competing options in the passenger car realm. One I have been watching is NIO. Like Tesla, they are not only making a variety of EVs, they are also providing great charging, or in this case, battery swapping options. Nissan and Renault attempt to launch this concept many years ago, but it never took off. Shanghai-based NIO appears to have refined it into a slick and quick system.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,852
SW Virginia
I watched their battery swap video. I think it's doomed to fail as long as owners have to turn the car over to an attendant to drive. It needs to be as simple as a self serve drive thru car wash.

A company called Better Place tried this years ago without success. Real progress won't happen until automakers can agree on some battery pack standards.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,685
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, the Better Place initiative was driven by Nissan/Renault. NIO seems targeted at high-end users. Maybe they are more used to valet service. Personally I would gladly use this service vs 30+ minutes at a charger, especially if on a trip. It's only one option. You can still charge it at home or work.
 
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ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
So who actually owns the battery? If you own the vehicle and the battery I'm not sure I like this idea. For example I could drive my Nio for 200,000 miles wear out the battery then pull in and swap for a newer battery and some other sucker gets my high mileage one, maybe I'd even get his brand new battery.

Tesla also tried this with the Model S, it was determined there was little to no consumer interest in this. I tend to agree, I wouldn't subscribe to such a program for my cordless drill, let alone a car.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,852
SW Virginia
So who actually owns the battery? If you own the vehicle and the battery I'm not sure I like this idea. For example I could drive my Nio for 200,000 miles wear out the battery then pull in and swap for a newer battery and some other sucker gets my high mileage one, maybe I'd even get his brand new battery.

Tesla also tried this with the Model S, it was determined there was little to no consumer interest in this. I tend to agree, I wouldn't subscribe to such a program for my cordless drill, let alone a car.
I guess I think of it kind of like the propane tank swap system at big box stores.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,441
Northern NH
It would not be that hard for a swap program for a smart battery if the battery's were standardized. I think the Better Place model that was trialed in Israel used a standard vehicle with a standard battery which I think was Nickel Metal Hydride chemistry. This was several years ago so the battery power density was far lower so batteries needed swapping frequently. Given the fairly steep increase in battery power density, I can envision that as batteries get smaller yet still have long range that a standard battery could be designed that could be used in multiple models The battery controller is most likely monitoring key parameters on battery health. One of the members of hearth has a business selling used EVs and he has learned that frequently that its not the entire battery pack that is bad cell but just a couple of cells so he breaks the packs apart and replaces the bad cells to restore the pack. I expect that a company operating a battery swap site would just read the code on stored in the battery and red flag marginal batteries and redirect them to be repaired or ultimately converted to stationary battery use.

I do dabble in larger grid connected batteries on occasion and the concept of leasing the batteries is out there.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,685
South Puget Sound, WA
With modern battery cell management systems it seems like they would pull battery packs that didn't charge to full capacity.

It is possible that this arrangement could lead to an easy and perhaps free upgrade by NIO as newer battery tech evolves. That could be a good marketing point. All they would need to do is maintain the form factor and attachment locations.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,441
Northern NH
With modern battery cell management systems it seems like they would pull battery packs that didn't charge to full capacity.

It is possible that this arrangement could lead to an easy and perhaps free upgrade by NIO as newer battery tech evolves. That could be a good marketing point. All they would need to do is maintain the form factor and attachment locations.

Wasnt one of the marketing points for the early Nissan leafs were that whne the battery pack was replaced in the future that they would have higher range?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,685
South Puget Sound, WA
Wasnt one of the marketing points for the early Nissan leafs were that whne the battery pack was replaced in the future that they would have higher range?
Indeed, though it was too early and not widely adopted. Now, GM has hinted at this possibility with their upcoming new battery architecture. What didn't happen with the Better Place initiative was wide-spread standardization. And that still seems to be the issue.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,441
Northern NH
My suspicion is that manufacturers want to stick to their proprietary battery packs as that is big part of the cars content. Given the potential longevity of the bodies and drivetrain, a replacement battery six or eight years down the road is a nice revenue stream.
 
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ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
I guess I think of it kind of like the propane tank swap system at big box stores.
My thought as well, I can fill a 20lb tank for about $10, or I can swap it for $35. Propane tanks are much cheaper for me to own because I don't have to pay someone to look after it for me. I'm thinking batteries would be similar, although it would be much harder to cause damage to a battery pack, but unfortunately every user pays for the replacement costs of any damaged batteries regardless of cause.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,685
South Puget Sound, WA
The video said it was £10-12 for a swap on a 100kW battery. That's like $15, for about a ~400 mi range. An SUV of this size would cost more like $40 to fill with gas. And that is without the cleaner air benefits and silent running.
 

ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
For now it does, but in reality that's the cost of the electricity alone. Not the cost of swapping the battery or the eventual replacement cost of those packs. That rate is a marketing scheme to entice new buyers, it's not sustainable for Nio to offer that forever. Tesla did the same back in the day with free supercharging.

I'm not arguing that it isn't a great idea and a fast way to recharge. But I think there are hurdles that consumers will encounter down the road that aren't being discussed currently.
 

DBoon

Minister of Fire
Jan 14, 2009
1,179
Central NY
I will predict that by the time anybody figures out a practical way to standardize batteries, swap them out quickly, and convince consumers that the battery pack they are swapping for won't be worse than the one they had before, we will have 15 minute charging providing 300 miles of range. That will make the whole point moot.

Add me to the list of people who would rather own something and care for it correctly and get the benefits of that rather than inherit someone else's poorly treated or maintained whatever.