The battery swap stations were used half a million times within two years.

On May 25, NIO reached a milestone of 500,000 cumulative EV battery swaps in China by its ES6 and ES8 cars.

The first NIO Power battery swap station was opened on May 20, 2018 so it's basically two years. For comparison, the number of cumulative NIO car sales are over 38,900.

Over those two years, NIO installed a total of 131 stations (as of May 20) in 58 cities and plans to add some 50 more in 2020 to enhance long-distance travel. In March it was 123:

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According to NIO, battery swapping is the most well-received power service.

"Power Swap is at the core of NIO’s “chargeable, swappable, upgradable” user experience, alongside a comprehensive battery and vehicle e-powertrain inspection. The infrastructure also enables users to continuously enjoy the benefits of the development of battery technology, with the ease of upgrading to a higher capacity and better performance simply through swapping."

Not all of the close to 40,000 NIO drivers are using battery swap - some did not need to use it, while others might be in areas without battery swap stations. According to data from March, 48.7% of all cars sold at least once used the station:

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All NIO vehicles are enabled to use the swap stations and the station offers both pack capacities - 70 kWh and 84 kWh. Soon there will be also a 100 kWh pack option.

NIO is also developing and 2nd generation of battery swap stations, which will not require the vehicles to be lifted up. It should be simpler, more reliable and cheaper, as well as save time for users.

Gallery: NIO Battery Swap Stations

InsideEVs had the opportunity to try out NIO's battery swap stations in Beijing last December. We had an NIO ES6 to drive around for two days and used the battery swap twice. We recorded one of the sessions and have the video here for viewing. As you can see, it took less than six minutes to complete the entire process. However, when we arrived, there wasn't another car having its battery swapped, so we went immediately into the swapping bay. It would have taken longer if we had to wait in a queue, which does happen from time to time. NIO encourages its customers to schedule the battery swapping, so you are assured of a set time, and won't have to wait for other cars that may have arrived before you. 

An important thing about the battery swap station today is that cars designed for the battery swap are eligible for EV subsidies in China, regardless of their price (no RMB 300,000 price cap).

"With the announcement of a new national subsidy policy on April 23 this year that new energy vehicles with battery swap technology can continue to enjoy subsidies from 2020 to 2022, the confidence in NIO’s technological direction and business model has been reinforced."

NIO Power Milestones

December 16, 2017 Power Swap debuts at NIO Day 2017
May 20, 2018 NIO opens its first battery swap station in Nanshan High Tech Industrial Park, Shenzhen

November 15, 2018 NIO launches 18 battery swap stations a long the G 4 Beijing Hong Kong Macau Expressway
December 15, 2018 NIO launches 8 battery s wap stations along the G 2 Beijing Shanghai Expressway
April 15, 2019 NIO Power Swap receives Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019
August 24, 2019 NIO awards the first owners of its products a lifetime of free battery swap services
May 20 , 2020 The 131st battery swap station opens , the first in Foshan
May 25 , 2020 NIO Power completes the 500,000 th battery swap at the power swap station in Shanghai Auto Expo Park

Source: NIO