Chinese automotive manufacturer NIO and Shell have signed an agreement to construct and operate battery swapping facilities in China and charging stations in Europe, to facilitate an increasing uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).
NIO and Shell plan to install 100 swapping stations in China by 2025, with pilot stations in Europe expected to start construction from 2022. No plans are in place for a charging network in China, but Shell's existing charging network in Europe will become available to NIO vehicles.
Battery swapping is the process of swapping a discharged EV battery for a charged one, therefore eliminating the time limitations of road-side recharging. But battery swapping brings a number of challenges, such as the need to standardise battery sizes between different vehicle makes and models, and to have a surplus of batteries to cars.
Shell is not the only major increasing its exposure to the EV sector — earlier this month BP announced that it will invest in China's Aulton new energy automotive technology to develop 1,000 battery swapping stations in China in the next five years.