NIO and Shell open first EV battery swap station in Europe

Two years after announcing an initial partnership to implement EV battery swap stations together, NIO and Shell have opened their first station in Europe. The new location joins several swap stations already implemented in China, as both parties look to expand their footprint together on two separate continents.

Shell remains the world’s largest gasoline retailer and as so, remains very low on our list of companies we like to give coverage too. That being said, even the oil giant recognizes that its days of peddling gas are numbered and has invested big bucks into powering the next generation of mobile technologies. They still suck, though.

We’ve seen shell acquire smaller charging companies, implement new zero emission solutions like electric ferries, and partner up with some big automakers who also develop EV charging solutions like BYD.

In November of 2021, we were admittedly surprised to hear that Chinese EV automaker NIO had signed into a strategic partnership with Shell which included plans for co-branded battery swap stations and EV fast chargers throughout China and Europe.

We saw those initial branded chargers and swap stations roll out in Tongan, Xiamen, China last summer, but haven’t seen any swap stations in Europe as originally promised. Today, the companies opened their first station in the Netherlands with plenty more on the way.

battery swap Europe
Credit: NIO Netherlands

Shell branded battery swaps begin operations in Europe

NIO Netherlands shared news of the first Shell co-branded swap station opening in Europe via Twitter, featuring the images you see above. According to NIO’s Weibo account, the initial station is located in Harmelen, Netherlands.

Although NIO now has 16 battery swap stations in Europe to date, this is the first one co-developed and implemented along with its partner in Shell. Separately from the gas guzzler, NIO also currently operates 8 EV charging stations and its current EU network offers drivers access to over 400,000 third-party chargers.

NIO currently has just over 1,400 of its own branded battery swap stations in China, in addition to 2,580 charging stations that are home to 15,312 charging piles. The automaker’s overall charging map in China offers customers access to over 700,000 third-party chargers.

In terms of its expansion with Shell, NIO has previously stated the companies intend to install at least 100 swap stations in China by 2025 and wanted to begin piloting battery swaps in Europe in 2022. The companies appear to be a bit behind schedule across the pond, but have previously said they hope to scale rapidly depending on the success of the co-branded battery swaps in Europe.

With one station now operational, we will have to see how fast NIO and Shell do in fact decide to expand in Europe. EV-centric countries where NIO models are sold like Norway and Denmark feel like an inevitable next step, although that has not yet been confirmed by either company.

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