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Nio Throws New Challenge At Tesla As Competition Heats Up

Nio (NIO) plans a vast expansion of EV battery swapping stations as competition with Tesla (TSLA) heats up. Nio stock opened higher but reversed lower.




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The Chinese EV startup plans to add at least 3,700 battery-swap stations for electric vehicles by 2025 after building around 300 so far, it said at an inaugural Power Day event Friday. Around 1,000 of the total will be installed outside of China, Bloomberg said. Nio’s expanding in Norway, where Tesla dominates.

At Power Day, Nio also reportedly said it has completed more than 2.9 million battery swaps. That’s up from the 1 million battery swaps that Nio announced last October.

Nio sees battery swapping as a key differentiator. Tesla, the luxury EV leader in China, relies on fast-charging stations for refueling electric vehicles. Tesla abandoned battery swapping technology years ago.

At the same time, Nio announced it will build more charging stations after selling around 120,000 EVs since deliveries first began in June 2018. Tesla has 850 Supercharger stations in China.


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At Nio’s battery swap stations, customers can get their vehicle battery swapped out for a fresh one in as little as 3 minutes. Refueling an EV the traditional way at charging stations takes longer.

In June, Nio’s EV sales in China rose 20% month over month while Tesla’s June sales in the country fell month over month. And Nio more than doubled June sales year over year.

EV sales at Nio are fueled by its popular and innovative “battery as a service” program, whereby customers buy the car and lease the battery for cost savings. But Tesla isn’t sitting idle.

On Thursday, Tesla debuted a version of its made-in-Shanghai Model Y that is cheaper after government subsidies than its direct competitor, Nio’s ES6 SUV.

Nio Stock, EV Stocks

Shares of Nio fell 1.8% to 44.76 on the stock market today, after initially popping to 47.01 soon after the open. Nio stock tested its 200-day line on Thursday. Tesla lost a fraction.

HSBC analyst Yuqian Ding upgraded Nio stock to buy with a 69 price target.

Nio also will build more vehicles for its “valet” charging service, which has a mobile team of workers fetch and return customers’ cars for recharging, the company said at Power Day. And it’s taking its superchargers and swap stations to Norway, where it’s expanding to further challenge Tesla.

Meanwhile, Nio is considering a listing on Hong Kong’s stock market, where U.S.-listed Xpeng Motors (XPEV) debuted earlier this week in a dual listing, local media said.

Xpeng stock sank 2.1%.

Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna.

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