Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Nio plans to establish a worldwide network of 4,000 battery swap stations in the next few years.

As part of its strategy to increase its exposure to China’s fast-growing EV market, the New York-listed automaker had initially already installed 1,000 battery swap stations across its home country, including 260 along major expressways.

The battery swap process typically takes about five minutes, according to the company, and is becoming increasingly popular among EV owners as more and more EV models are fitted with battery packs designed to be easily exchanged.

Nio said owners of its cars had so far carried out 10 million battery swaps at its stations with 75% having used the service more than once.

With EV sales in China widely expected to exceed five million units in 2022, up from 2.9m last year, other local automakers, including BAIC, and Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Company Limited (CATL) also want to launch and expand their own domestic battery swap networks.

According to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, there were 1,500 battery swap stations operating in China at the end of May.

Founder Securities has estimated 3.2 million vehicles with swappable batteries will be in use in China alone by 2025.

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