NIO to Sell BEVs Without a Battery Pack

Chinese BEV maker NIO has begun selling battery-less cars with swap-out capabilities in what it calls a Battery as a Service (BaaS) offering.

In a move that echoes Renault’s battery lease scheme, it means its domestic market customers can purchase a car without the battery, claiming this makes EVs more price competitive against existing powertrains, while also providing the flexibility to change battery capacity depending on their needs. The automaker adds that BaaS is also a solution to the long-existing obstacles to EV consumer take-up, including fears over battery degradation, battery upgrade potential and lower residual values.

Its scheme offers the customer the ability to buy a NIO without its battery pack for

RMB 70,000 ($10,094) off the car price across all models, and then subscribe to a 70 kWh battery pack for RMB 980 ($141) per month. Users who have not subscribed to NIO’s service plan have only to pay a battery guarantee fee of RMB 80 ($11) per month.

Naturally, BaaS only works with the automaker’s bespoke battery swapping technologies and its China national network of 143 power swap stations and services. It claims to have already obtained more than 1,200 patents related to battery swapping and completed over 800,000 swaps for users. Weineng Wuhan Battery Asset, initiated by NIO, Contemporary Amperex Technology, Hubei Science Technology Investment Group and Guotai Junan International Holdings, will purchase battery packs and commission NIO to provide battery subscription services to users.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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