The Chinese brand Nio has just obtained help from the European Union to be able to accelerate the deployment of its battery exchange stations in the territory. Enough to allow the “recharge” of electric car batteries in less than five minutes. A great step forward for the manufacturer, which plans to develop massively in the Old Continent to compete with Tesla.
If you don’t know Nio yet, chances are you’ll start seeing more and more of them on the roads very soon. Although the Chinese brand, founded in 2014, is still mainly focused on its native market, it is slowly starting to export abroad. And especially in Europe, while it markets several of its models in Germany specifically.
a new step
Nio already offers its ES8 SUV (which will have to change its name), which broke the autonomy record for the 1,000-kilometre test organized by youtuber Bjørn Nyland. But the firm has also launched its ET7 and ET5 in northern Europe as well as in Germany, pending deployment in other countries of the Old Continent.
And it shouldn’t take long, as the manufacturer, a rival to BYD or even Xpeng, has recently taken a new step in its international development. As announced in a press release, he has just been selected for benefit from European subsidies through Horizon Europe.
It is then a question ofa research and innovation program launched by the European Union for which an endowment of 9,700 million euros has been allocated in a period ranging from 2021 to 2027. These funds are intended to help companies that invest in the fight against global warming, such as manufacturers of fast charging stations or battery changing stations, such as Nio. Another 26 companies were also selected, including Reefilla and SAMSO SpA.
Partner of the car manufacturer, the first offer of mobile battery charging services with anticipation of needs while the second is specialized in theinstallation of charging points for electric cars. This new project will not finance the launch of new models of the Nio range but its battery changing stations.
a great project
This program, which officially began in January, will last a total of three years and will aim to study various topics, such as the impact of stationary batteries on the electrical grid, in a context of energy stress. But not only, since the project will also look at the second life of the batteries, solar energy integration, such as Tesla plans to do with its V4 Superchargers or the use of removable batteries. This is precisely what Nio offers with its changing stations.
Already established in Norway and Germany, they are now manufactured in Hungary. Then they consist of a power exchange station in which it is enough to park or let the car park itself thanks to the incorporation of a new LiDAR sensor. A robot then comes to remove the empty battery and replaces it with a full accumulator.
An operation that can then be done in just two and a half minutes in new generation stations, compared to the previous five minutes. A total of 408 swaps can be done per day There are already a dozen accessible stations in Europe, while Nio plans to install a few about 1,000 by 2025 in the territory A development that could be greatly facilitated by these subsidies.
Therefore, the Chinese brand will have to compete with MG, which is also developing its own battery swapping stations, but only in China for the moment. The MG4 is also not compatible with this system, which should help Nio develop in Europe, while range and therefore charging remain a purchase barrier for many motorists. Concerns that will be resolved with the ET7, which could travel up to850 kilometers away according to the WLTP cycle thanks to its Qilin CTP 3.0 battery developed by CATL.
For now, Nio’s solution is only compatible with its own cars. But the Chinese manufacturer is working hand in hand with another manufacturer, unknown at the moment, to try to offer the technology to the entire industry.
In addition to the battery swapping stations, Nio is also working on a 500 kW terminal that can charge a car in just 12 minutes.
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