Electric car, battery replacement | This is how you get a fully charged electric car in just six minutes

Electric car, battery replacement |  This is how you get a fully charged electric car in just six minutes

VESTBY (Nettavisen): There’s no point in putting anything in between: Charging is the biggest inconvenience for electric cars.

It’s all right as long as you have enough power to get from A to B, and the chance to charge when the car is parked. But once we talk about charging along the way, it’s a stressful moment.

If you are really unlucky, there are no charging points available. You often get worse charging speeds due to combined power (load balancing). If everything works optimally, you still have to wait 40-60 minutes. Longer if you were to charge up to 100 percent.

It may seem trivial, but put two kids in the car who’d rather be anywhere else, and it’s going to take a lot of minutes.

The argument that you have to stop every now and then doesn’t work either. What I like to call the theme park test is a good example. You often travel for a few hours to places like Hunderfossen or Dyreparken – not to mention the winter sports venues. One way is often no problem without charging, but these places don’t have the infrastructure for charging once you arrive. You can only charge when you’re on the way home, and then no one gets impatient.

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Just replace the battery

This is what sets Nio apart from other electric car brands. The company has one selling point that no one else can match: the ability to replace a dead battery with a fully charged one. This happens at “battery exchange stations” in a matter of minutes.

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In China, it has become big. Norway currently has three exchange stations: Lier, Vestby and Lillehammer. Nine plans for 17 other people.

There is no problem-free strategy. First, such a network is very expensive to create – and is overdue. It is very expensive because the infrastructure can only be used by Nio models. No investment can spread across all brands, as with fast chargers.

And above all, you create high expectations among customers. Change the battery Can It happens within five to seven minutes, but if you’re lucky enough to have three or four others standing in front of you in the queue, the waiting time is still plenty. Nio estimates a waiting time of 10 minutes for each person in the queue ahead of you.

But how does it work?

We took Nio’s new ET7, a competitor to the Tesla Model S, to the Nio exchange station in Vestby south of Oslo.

The robot exchange stations have a stock of about a dozen batteries. Currently, you can choose between inserting a large or small battery. When the battery is removed from the vehicle, it is charged – and finally ready for new customers.

The stations are basically self-service. The exchange process begins with a request from the infotainment system when you stand outside the charging station. On-screen graphics and a voice prompt guide you through the further process.

After parking outside the station, the car’s self-driving features take over and bring you back to your spot.

Once you enter the charging station, you remain seated in the car while the replacement takes place. It beats and vibrates a bit, but it is perceived as less noisy than the undersigned expected.

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We could have thought of more information about the progression during the process, because sometimes there are periods when nothing seems to happen and you can think you’re done. The red light on the wall is the only thing you have to deal with.

After just over six minutes, the process was done for us, and we had a new, fully charged battery with a range of over 500km.

More than a minute of this time was used by the car to reverse course. It should have been faster.

It should also be said that although Nio has attempted to create a step-by-step guide on how to proceed, there is little room for ease of use for beginners. When the car’s voice control, for example, asks you to press the screen to continue, it actually means “press the home button in the lower left corner, now a new option has appeared that was not there before that allows you to start.” It’s not clear on immediately.

Fortunately still serviced

Although the stations are automated, they are currently still occupied. The staff is there to help with a technique unknown to the vast majority of people, which does not cure all childhood illnesses.

We were so glad that this help was available. We experienced Ghost Demo at its most sophisticated today. While technicians were trying to figure out issues with the vehicles’ internals, regular customers would pop in and out and were able to change the battery without any issues.

The ever-helpful staff eventually resolved issues, but only one of the three battery changes we tested that day—on three different cars—were automated. The other two exchanges would have been impossible if help had not been available.

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But when such a solution works optimally, it is undoubtedly very attractive.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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