EV Startup NIO Launches a New 100 kWh 382 Mile Range Battery With a Subscription Plan

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【Summary】Chinese electric vehicle startup and Tesla competitor NIO Inc. launched its latest battery pack which offers more power and a longer range. The new 100kWh battery pack has a NEDC range of 615 km (382 miles) and is available as a subscription for NIO vehicles.

Eric Walz    Dec 16, 2020 11:30 AM PT
EV Startup NIO Launches a New 100 kWh 382 Mile Range Battery With a Subscription Plan
The NIO ES6 fully-electric SUV

Chinese electric vehicle startup and Tesla competitor NIO Inc. launched its latest battery pack which offers more power and a longer range. The new 100kWh battery pack has a NEDC range of 615 km (382 miles) and its available as an option on NIO vehicles.

Nio customers can pre-order an EV powered by the 100kWh battery beginning on Saturday, Nov 7.

Nio's electric vehicles are uniquely designed, as the vehicle batteries are designed to be removed and swapped in minutes at one of the company's "battery swapping stations" that are popping up in cities throughout China.

Rather than plugging in and waiting to fully charge a Nio vehicle's battery, it can simply be removed and replaced with a fully-charged one in a highly automated process that takes as little as 3 minutes.

Nio has opened 158 battery swap stations already in China with more being built. To date, the company said it performed over 1.1 million battery swap services for owners.


A "NIO Power" battery swap station in China.

NIO's 100 kWh Battery Feautres Cell-to-Pack Technology

Nio's new 100kWh battery pack features cell-to-pack (CTP) technology and was jointly developed with China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL). 

CATL is one of the world's leading suppliers of electric vehicle batteries. In February, CATL inked a two-year deal to supply batteries to Tesla for the vehicles it produces at its Shanghai factory. The company also supplies batteries to Honda Motor Co., Volkswagen, Volvo and Mercedes Benz. 

CTP batteries eliminate the use of bundling thousands of individual cells into battery modules which makes up the battery pack. Instead the cells are directly fitted into the battery housing, which streamlines production and reduces weight.

CATL's cell-to-pack batteries eliminate the production step of bundling thousands of individual cells into multiple battery modules, which is what NIO's rival Tesla does.

The CTP batteries feature an integrated design which speeds up the manufacturing process by 40% and the CTP technology improves space utilization by 19.8%. As a result, the battery offers 37% higher energy density, according to Nio. 

In addition to packing more power, the newly-launched 100kWh battery offers better thermal runaway management. The thermal management system performs in all climates and can improve performance and extend the service life of the battery, the company said.


NIO's new 100 kWh battery pack uses cell-to-pack technology.

NIO's Battery-as-a-Service Plan

Prior to the introduction of the 100kWh battery pack, Nio launched a Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) monthly subscription plan. The service, which launched in August, allows a NIO owner to pay a monthly fee for the battery that's separate from the vehicle purchase. The BaaS plan lowers the purchase price of the vehicle making it more affordable. 

The subscription service is intended to offset the cost of the battery pack, which is the most expensive component of any electric vehicle. An electric vehicle's battery pack alone adds thousands of dollars to the sticker price.

Nio customers that choose the BaaS service plan can upgrade to a bigger battery depending on their needs and pay a monthly fee instead of buying a Nio EV with a more powerful battery upfront. 

Current Nio owners with models equipped with the standard 70kWh battery can upgrade to the 100 kWh battery by either purchasing it in full, or paying a monthly subscription fee of 880 yuan ($130) or 7,980 yuan ($1,190) per year.

Under the BaaS model, if a customer decides to purchase a Nio vehicle and subscribe to use the 70kWh battery pack under the BaaS model, the original purchase price drops by 70,000 yuan ($10,450). Customers then pay a monthly fee of 980 yuan ($146) for the battery pack itself. 

A customer who buys a Nio vehicle powered by the bigger 100kWh battery can deduct 128,000 yuan ($19,105) off the sticker price and pay a monthly subscription of 1,480 yuan ($223) per month for the battery.

However, customers that opt for the BaaS plan can still take advantage of China's purchase tax exemption for EVs, as well as generous government New Energy Vehicle (NEV) subsidies.

"The BaaS model has long been planned with our unique battery swap technologies. The successful launch of the BaaS model will enable NIO users to benefit from the lower initial purchase prices of our products, flexible battery upgrade options and assurance of battery performance," said NIO founder and chairman William Bin Li this summer when the service launched.

Nio is one of China's rising EV startups as is often referred to as the "Tesla of China" along with Xpeng Motors. The company is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and is publicly traded company in the U.S., launching its U.S. IPO in Sept 2018.

Founded in 2014 by William Bin Li who serves as the company's Chairman, Nio began deliveries of its first fully-electric passenger vehicle the ES8 SUV in June 2018. Nio followed with the ES6 in June 2019, a smaller 5-passenger, high-performance, long-range SUV. 

The ES6 shares the same EV architecture and underpinnings as the larger ES8 SUV. It's intended to be more of a mass-market EV like the Tesla Model 3 sedan. Prior to the new 100 kWh battery option, NIO customers could choose between a 70 or 84-kWh battery pack for more range. 

In September, Nio reported it delivered 4,708 EVs, representing a year-over-year increase of 133%.

In June, Nio's battery partner CATL announced that its ready to build an EV battery with an expected lifespan of 1.2 million miles or 16 years before its needs replacement, which could be a game changer for the auto industry.

NIO's first car was the limited production 1,360 horsepower EP9 electric supercar, which earned the title of the world's fastest battery-powered car at Germany's famed Nürburgring Nordschleife in 2017. 

The EP9 supercar also has a removable battery pack, which takes around 8 minutes to remove.

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