NIO Capital believes that shared battery charging networks will promote the development of the NEV industry. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Managing Partner of NIO Capital, Ian Zhu, noted, "We are looking at technology and companies that enable energy users to be more energy efficient. EVs are the black swan of the energy sector and the entire energy landscape will change. Such industry disruption often provide perfect opportunities for investors." Ian believes that the traditional roles played by major oil and gas giants such as Shell, BP and PetroChina will face fundamental changes moving forward.
According to Ian, the operating environment for new energy vehicles previously was very different from what we are faced with today. Electric vehicles have attracted the attention of many large car manufacturers, and battery costs have also fallen sharply. Factors such as these support his view that battery swap technology is the way forward for electric vehicles. "The economic effects of the battery swap model will result pushing the cost of purchasing and using electric vehicles lower than those of traditional ICE vehicles," explained Ian. "Battery swapping should be a public network asset, and we are investing in that network."
NIO Capital recently led Series-A funding in Aulton, a leading provider of new energy vehicle energy services in China with a focus on battery swap technology. At present, Aulton's battery swap network mainly serves taxis and ride-hailing services, with the current model able to complete the swap in just three minutes. The company is well-established in China and has long maintained cooperation with the electric vehicle subsidiary of BAIC Group.
Since 2018, Beijing has been committed to promoting the development of new energy vehicles and has been working to replace all its gas-powered taxis with electric vehicles within a period of just five years, affecting an estimated 70,000 registered taxis. Reports indicate that there are currently 2,000 such taxis in use in Beijing, and Aulton plans to build a nationwide battery swap network.