NIO and Lotus announce plans to co-develop unified battery standards, charging, and swaps

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Two big names in EVs announced a new strategic cooperation during the 2024 Beijing International Auto Show. Lotus Technology and NIO detailed plans to co-develop EV charging and battery swap technologies alongside wishes to create a unified battery standard system.

NIO Inc. ($NIO) may be best known for its premium EVs and its recent venture into smartphones, but it’s important to note that the Chinese automaker is the global leader in EV battery swap stations. As of October 2023, NIO has successfully completed over 30 million battery swaps around the world, proving the technology is a viable alternative to standard plug-in and charge EV practices.

Like NIO, Wuhan Lotus Technology Co., Ltd., better known as Lotus ($LOT), is another name with deep ties to China. It has been majority-owned by Geely Holding since 2017. As a result, Lotus has vowed to go all-electric and is off to an impressive start.

To date, the supercar developer has delivered three BEV models: The Emeya, Evija, and Eletre SUV, which just opened up sales in North America. In addition to all-electric supercars, Lotus Technology has introduced its own line of DC fast chargers that are liquid-cooled and can deliver rates up to 450 kW – no easy task.

Today, we can envision a future of even more advanced charging and battery swap technologies as NIO and Lotus shared intentions to work together in order to push the industry forward.

Lotus NIO
Left: Lotus CEO Feng Qingfeng Right: NIO founder, chairman, and CEO William Li / Source: NIO

NIO and Lotus team up to reshape EV infrastructure

Following a public announcement from NIO and Lotus CEOs at the 2024 Beijing Auto Show, the new strategic partners shared a press release detailing their plans to co-develop charging and battery swap technologies. Here’s their list of technological focuses to improve upon and co-develop:

  • Charging and swapping technologies
  • Battery asset management and operations
  • Service network construction and operations
  • Vehicle R&D and customization and connectivity
  • Build a unified battery standard system
  • Jointly develop passenger vehicles adapted to the battery swapping system
  • Facilitate connectivity of battery swapping networks and operators with unified battery swapping operational and management system
  • Establish an efficient battery asset management system
  • Press ahead with interconnectivity of different charging platforms
  • Establish a unified high-power charging technology system and a reliable and shared high-power charging network

That’s quite the to-do list for NIO and Lotus, but both CEOs relayed confidence that two EV-focused heads are better than one. Per NIO founder, chairman, and CEO William Li:

Cooperation is always the best option. NIO has always been open to cooperation in charging and swapping technologies as well as infrastructure network deployment. We would like to work together with Lotus to push forward the development of the premium smart electric vehicle market, make joint efforts in technological innovation and standard unification for charging and swapping, push for a larger-scale, standardized and unified energy infrastructure network, so as to deliver efficient and friendly recharging service experiences to users.

This strategic cooperation has the makings to be something special, as NIO and Lotus share a granular focus on delivering luxury, ease of use, and holistic EV systems to their customers. Both have already proven they have the design and manufacturing prowess to make good on their promises, too – these companies aren’t just idea people.

NIO already operates the largest EV charging and battery swap network in China, while Lotus has quickly become one of the world’s only hypercar specialists to go all-electric and do so effectively, using its proprietary 800V architecture nonetheless. Lotus CEO Qingfeng Feng also spoke about the new deal with NIO:

As an important direction supported and encouraged by the state policies, the innovations of battery swap and ‘vehicle-battery’ separation not only protect battery health and safety, but also enable users to continuously enjoy the dividends of battery technology progress. Our cooperation with NIO to share with each other the charging and swapping resources will allow our users to experience the track genes and ultimate performance of Lotus while enjoying friendly services of NIO’s charging and swapping network across China.

As the companies begin to co-develop charging and swap technologies, much of those initial implementations should hit China first. However, NIO and Lotus are, or are becoming, global EV brands, so we can expect fast chargers, swap stations, and unified battery standards to expand to other markets in Asia, Europe, and beyond.

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