Galvin declined to say how many Power Swap sites the firm wanted to have ready for a UK launch, but said: “They will be prioritised in terms of connecting major cities on trunk roads, and then we’ll look to expand into urban environments where users might not have access to off-street parking. They can use Power Swap stations like petrol stations.”
Because they store battery packs that can then be charged slowly, Power Swap stations don’t require as large a grid connection as a standard fast charger, but Galvin noted many of the sites will also offer traditional EV charging.
“The logic for investing in Power Swap infrastructure is that we’re a user-centric brand,” said Galvin. “For mass adoption of electric vehicles you have to make it as easy as possible. At the moment, some people don’t see it as being particularly easy, but Power Swap brings a new dimension.”
Nio cars will be offered in the UK on a Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) model, with users leasing the batteries so that they can be swapped regularly. Galvin said that addressed another “inhibitor” for EV buying by reducing the price of a car and guaranteeing a minimum state of health for battery packs.
Nio is planning a three-car line-up for the initial UK launch, which will grow rapidly in the coming years. The firm’s original platforms were not designed with right-hand drive in mind and have had to be adapted, but new models such as the recently revealed EL6 SUV use a new platform that enables easier RHD conversion.