It only takes three minutes.
Competition in the electric vehicle industry is at boiling point, with small startups and major manufacturers all scrambling for a piece of the pie. In the US, and globally, Tesla still dominates, but smaller manufacturers such as China's Nio are performing surprisingly well. About a month ago, Nio celebrated its 100,000th car, and has sent out a clear message to its US rival: it has no intention of letting Tesla win. Nio is best known for the EP9 Supercar, and the 643 horsepower Nio ES8, a direct competitor to the Tesla Model X. Nio might be smaller than Tesla in every sense, but it can now brag about one thing: it has performed over four million battery swaps.
This milestone is significant because Nio, which doesn't exactly have the largest footprint, does have a serious upper hand when it comes to battery swapping technology. Only six months ago the company revealed that its customers had completed two million swaps, boasting over 500 battery swapping stations across the country. Tesla at one stage contemplated battery swapping but eventually settled on what we now know as the supercharging network.
Nio's way of keeping its clients on the road is quite ingenious: all a Nio customer needs to do is locate a Power Swap station, and an app will tell them how many batteries are available, and how many other customers are in line. Once you're next in line, simply back your car into the station and let the technicians do their thing.
Techies hoist the Nio vehicle with a lift, remove some screws and replace the empty battery pack with a fully charged one. This entire process takes just three minutes. Second-hand owners are charged on how many kilowatt-hours of energy the battery requires to be fully charged and costs around ten bucks a pop on average. Three minutes sounds much better than 30 minutes. Your move Tesla.