When folks nonetheless had doubts electrical automobiles had been possible, battery swapping was identified as one approach to make them work. The principle situation about them was defining an ordinary – akin to that of AA batteries – in order that battery packs can be commodities. Would every producer undertake a unique one, or they may attain a consensus? That dialogue died till Nio confirmed swapping them was attainable – more than a million times.
Better Place tried that earlier than Nio, but it surely went bankrupt somewhat shortly – it operated from 2012 as much as 2013. One of many explanations for that’s that Higher Place used an tailored Renault Fluence as its primary automobile. Nio designs its personal automobiles and conceived the battery pack that can be utilized in all its merchandise, in addition to the swapping stations that substitute them.
That type of management over all elements of battery swapping permits Nio not solely to design it to be simpler but additionally to set an ordinary format for the packs. In keeping with the corporate, all Nio autos settle for the identical unit no matter how massive they’re. Its primary problem is retaining the batteries with totally different capacities on the similar pack dimension.
When you understand the ES8 is 5.02 meters (198 in) lengthy and the EC6 and the ES6 are 4.85 m (191 in) lengthy, it might make you suppose that a minimum of the wheelbase is similar. It’s not: the ES8 has a 3 m (118 in) wheelbase, whereas the EC6 and ES6 have a 2.90 m (114 in) wheelbase. Summing up, the battery pack doesn’t dictate the size every automobile can have. That offers Nio the flexibility to compete in additional market segments with the identical swappable part.
The very fact that there’s a dimension customary doesn’t suggest the pack contents are the identical. The brand new 100 kWh battery packs Nio introduced adopts the CTP (cell-to-pack) cell association that turns them into structural parts. In Nio’s case, that will increase vitality density by 37 % and area utilization by 19.8 %.
That suggests automobiles that use Nio’s battery pack subscription service BaaS (Battery as a Service) might even see enhancements of their chemistry and mass with out having to pay extra for that. When you subscribe for 70 kWh models, you’ll get that even when battery packs with that capability change internally, which may be very probably contemplating the CTP expertise. Lighter packs will enhance vary, scale back swapping wants, and should save Nio some huge cash.
The corporate’s direct involvement with battery prices is constructive for patrons, but it surely might be a burden for Nio. In spite of everything, it owns all of the batteries provided by subscription. In the event that they current any situation – such as the ones the Chevy Bolt EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric are facing – that’s on Nio, not on the automobile house owners.
Transferring reliability issues to the producer as a substitute of leaving them with prospects is a big incentive to enhance it. Riversimple already discussed that, and Nio applies the concept by repeatedly monitoring and conducting real-time battery checks. The corporate does that by means of its battery administration system known as “Protect” on the Energy Stations to make sure the well being of every battery pack. Nio additionally stated it makes use of OTA (over-the-air) upgrades for the BMS and its cell supervising circuits and swap packing containers.
The corporate is at the moment value greater than Normal Motors even with a fraction of its manufacturing quantity, one thing that additionally occurs with Tesla and that has raised issues of an “electrical automobile producers” market cap bubble. If it had comparable manufacturing numbers to these of main legacy automakers, it will have established a de facto battery swapping customary. Whereas it doesn’t get there, the excellent news is that Nio doesn’t wish to maintain it to itself.
In keeping with the corporate, it will be possible for different automakers to undertake its battery swapping system and its battery pack format of their merchandise if there was a robust dedication to it aside from the “want for giant scale synergies amongst totally different producers.”
On its half, Nio stated it’s open to cooperating with different automobile firms. It has already achieved so in EV charging infrastructure and companies, with them being suitable with all EVs – together with Tesla.
As all the time, the query is whether or not different automakers would settle for to undertake a format they haven’t conceived for such a vital part in EVs because the battery pack. For the sake of electrical mobility, it will be improbable in the event that they did. The idea of collaboration beats that of competitors to attain extra sustainable mobility and protect pure assets.