Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and Chinese EV firm Nio last week announced a cooperative agreement to expand charging and battery swapping stations in Europe and China.
The agreement includes a network of co-branded battery swapping stations, starting with two pilot sites in China, the two companies said in press releases. Shell and Nio hope to establish 100 sites in China by 2025.
In Europe, the two companies plan to begin “exploring” options for pilot battery swapping sites in 2022, and scale up from there. Shell’s European charging network will also become available to Nio drivers, according to the automaker.
Nio ET Preview concept
The agreement also covers potential joint projects for battery asset management, fleet management, a membership system, home charging services, technology development, and a charging network in China, Nio said.
While other companies have failed to find a sustainable business model, Nio has continued to invest in battery swapping—with a goal of 700 swapping stations in use by the end of 2021.
The automaker teased a next-generation battery swapping system, as well as a battery pack for lease, just earlier this year, so it’s also focused on the tech moving forward.
Earlier this year, Nio started sales in Norway—its first market outside China—with the intent to sell in European Union markets soon. The partnership with Shell paves the way for that by providing customers with access to the oil company’s charging stations.
Shell sees the industry as past peak oil, and it’s been making significant investments in EV charging.
One such example is in Ubitricity, in the United Kingdom, which Shell announced plans to buy in January. Ubitricity has designed charging hardware that can fit into streetlight posts, providing charging access to street-parked cars without taking up additional space. Shell and Ubitricity plan to install 50,000 of these charging stations in the U.K. by 2025.