Nio’s battery-as-a-service leasing scheme has been chosen by 95 percent of all buyers of the Chinese automaker’s electric SUV sold in Norway so far, the company says.
The leasing scheme gives access to Nio’s planned battery-swap station network in Norway, the first of which is already running in Oslo.
Nio will expand its European rollout to include Germany later this year and will install battery-swap stations there as well, Hui Zhang, managing director of Nio’s European operations, told Automotive News Europe.
Linking the leasing scheme to battery swapping gives Nio customers additional benefits beyond those offered by Renault, which was the first to offer battery leasing with the Zoe small car.
In Norway, Nio offers its seven-seat, standard-range version of the ES8 large SUV for 528,900 crowns (52,250 euros, $58,400) with battery leasing for the equivalent of 138 euros a month.
Without battery leasing, the car’s price rises to the equivalent of 61,138 euros.
The battery lease entitles the owner to six free swaps a month, equivalent to 600 kilowatts per hour, at Nio’s planned network of 12 locations.
“It’s about how to satisfy the user needs and reduce range anxiety,” Zhang said.
At the start of 2022, Nio had 835 swap stations in China and one in Norway. The company has carried out more than 4.7 million battery swaps in China, according to its third-quarter earnings report release in November.
The company said last year it intends to build 4,000 battery swap stations by 2025, including 1,000 outside China.
Nio has said that battery swapping extends the life of lithium-ion batteries compared with rapid charging by conditioning them within the swap stations before sending them out again.
Nio sold 200 cars in Norway last year following its launch there in September, according to sales figures from Dataforce.
Nio is one of a handful of China automakers including Xpeng, BYD and Hongqi that are taking advantage of the high acceptance of electric cars in Norway to use the country as a springboard to the rest of Europe.
In January, 84 percent of new cars sold in the country were electric, statistics from the country’s OFV road traffic information council showed.
Nio is reviving battery swapping in Europe after the failure of Renault-backed Israeli company Better Place in 2013 to create a European network of stations.
Renault has since signaled it is ready to give the idea another try.
"From a business point of view, there is a [good reason] to separate the battery from the car, especially if you are handling the second and third life of the battery," CEO Luca de Meo said last year. "We have done the math and asked engineers to find a solution to go back to the original idea that was pioneered by Renault."
Chinese companies are pledging roll out more swap stations, including Geely, which said in September that it aims to set up 5,000 battery swapping sites for electric vehicles globally by 2025.
Battery company CATL launched a battery-swap service in January that will extend to 10 cities around China under the badge EVOGO.