This is the first time a local authority has forcibly tried to dismantle the facility at a time when its construction was supported by national policy.
Less than a month after it was put into operation, NIO's only battery swap station in Kaifeng, a city in central China's Henan province, is facing a rare forced demolition, sparking an uproar among NIO owners.
According to a report on the news portal Sohu, the city management (or known as Chengguan) of Kaifeng tried to demolish a local NIO battery swap station this morning, with a video showing one of the facility's exterior walls being torn down.
The report said the battery swap station still had several batteries stored inside.
(Photo source: Sohu)
The report cited NIO's response as saying that the company is in communication with the relevant parties and that the demolition has been stopped.
In response to a large number of questions from users, NIO's user service account said in the NIO App that "the company was informed of the incident at the first time and is responding appropriately. It is not surprising that new things have some hiccups in the development process, and we believe it will be solved soon."
The Sohu report said that the local authorities demolished the building on the grounds that it was "not in line with the city's amenities and environmental sanitation".
The report mentioned that the construction cost of an NIO battery swap station is around RMB 3 million, which can be cut to around RMB 1 million when it is scaled up.
In addition, according to a statement issued by the contractor of the swap station as quoted by other local media, the facility underwent a complete filing and approval process before it was put into operation.
But from what has happened so far, it seems that the local city administration now has a different opinion.
Information previously released by NIO showed that the battery swap station is located in Kaifeng Kaiyuan Square and was put into operation on September 25, the first of its kind in the city.
(Photo source: NIO)
As of October 19, NIO had 543 battery swap stations in China.
This is the first time we have seen the facility face forced demolition and a rare setback for NIO in the construction of battery swap stations, as Chinese policy has previously been very supportive and facilitative of such facilities.
In the past few months alone, Chinese government documents have made several references to providing support for battery swap station construction.
On May 20, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and National Energy Administration jointly released a document for public comment that said they would strengthen support for the construction of charging and battery swap infrastructure, accelerate the promotion of the battery swap model, and support the construction of dedicated battery swap stations.
A notice issued by the NDRC with six other departments on September 10 said that government departments would issue implementation rules within the year on further enhancing the service guarantee capacity of charging and battery swap infrastructure.
The province of Henan, where the drama happened, also announced its goal on replenishment facilities last year, saying that by 2025, the province would have more than 2,000 charging stations and battery swap stations.