is considering banning cars with internal combustion engines from charging at some of its busy charging stations in order to prioritize serving purely electric vehicles, the head of the company's energy business said.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

While Volkswagen's investment in Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV) has been at the center of much discussion over the past few days, Nio's (NYSE: NIO) charging station management strategy has also generated a lot of buzz, and now a major change may be on the horizon.

Nio is considering banning charging of cars with internal combustion engines at some of its extremely busy charging stations in order to prioritize servicing purely electric vehicles, the head of the company's energy business said.

In China, both plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) with internal combustion engines and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are known as new energy vehicles (NEVs), although the former usually have smaller battery capacities.

Yesterday evening, car blogger Chen Han said on Weibo that a Nio owner from Guangzhou who needed to recharge on a trip in Xinjiang found that the only two charging piles at a local Nio charging station were occupied by PHEVs of other brands.

"Cars that could refuel were occupying the only two charging piles, while Nio's own owners who really needed to charge had to wait, and Nio customer service said there was nothing they could do about it," the blogger said.

In such a situation, Nio owners will definitely be upset, the blogger said, adding that he wishes Nio to prioritize its own customers.

A few hours later, Nio Power senior vice president Shen Fei, in a retweet of the Weibo post, commented that it seemed reasonable to ban fuel-burning vehicles at a charging station that is a necessity and extremely busy.

Shen said he has asked his team to look into the matter and if it is technically feasible, they will take immediate steps to prioritize the service for purely electric vehicles.

In the video shared by the blogger, the Nio owner complained that it was the only charging station in the entire city he was passing through, and that the hybrid vehicles that were occupying both charging piles had small batteries and had not been fully charged for more than an hour.

The video shows that one of the two hybrids is a (NASDAQ: LI) model, and the other is a D9 MPV from 's premium Denza brand.

Earlier this month, Nio placed restrictions on some of its charging piles in Xinjiang, allowing only Nio vehicles to charge during peak hours, and making them available to other brands only between 6 pm each day and 11 am the next.

However, the move has been met with displeasure by some owners of other brands, with one EV owner taking to social media over the weekend to say that Nio's approach was a sign of a lack of open-mindedness and that it should not continue to survive.

The owner's posting generated a lot of discussion, although much of it was in support of Nio.

On July 24, Nio tweaked its strategy for the charging station that sparked the complaint by slightly increasing the hours it serves non-Nio owners.

For Nio, its signature power-up facility is battery swap stations, which numbered 1,578 in China as of July 27, according to data monitored by CnEVPost.

In addition, Nio has one of the largest number of charging stations in China, with 1,523 supercharging stations providing 7,442 superchargers, and 1,319 destination charging stations providing 9,417 chargers as of July 27.

Currently Nio's battery swap stations are available only for Nio's vehicles because of the limitations of the battery pack specifications. The company's charging stations are open to the public and the vast majority of the power is used by other brands of EVs.

Nio's charging piles have served more than 110 brands of EVs, and Nio-branded vehicles used only 20.3 percent of the power, the company's co-founder and president, Qin Lihong, said at the July 20 Nio Power Day 2023 event.

Nio Power Day 2023: What you need to know