Li said the battery swap business could become profitable if it averages 60 orders per station per day, and that figure has already reached 80 in Shanghai.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

(NYSE: NIO) has added another partner to its battery swap business after Geely Holding and Changan Automobile.

Nio signed a deal with a car company for its battery swap alliance business on the morning of December 14, widening the "friend circle" for the business even further, said William Li, the company's founder, chairman and CEO.

Nio held a face-to-face media event today in Shanghai, where it has its global headquarters, and Li mentioned this at that event, according to a report in local media outlet Securities Times.

Li didn't mention the carmaker by name, and Nio may officially announce the signing soon.

On November 21, Nio signed a battery swap business cooperation agreement with Changan, which will see the two companies collaborate on the construction and sharing of a battery swap network and the development of battery swap-enabled models, making Changan the first external member of the Nio-led battery swap alliance.

On November 29, Nio and Geely Holding signed a strategic cooperation agreement to jointly promote the development of standards for swappable batteries, the construction and sharing of battery swap networks, and the development of battery swap-enabled vehicles.

Nio has been thinking about opening up the battery swap business since the first day it embarked on it, Li said today, according to the Securities Times.

Li called on all car companies to consider joining Nio's battery swap system and to look at which models would be suitable for retrofitting to use the battery swap model.

The battery swap business is not a burden for Nio, but a moat, Li said.

Separately, according to Jiemian, Li said Nio's battery swap business has limited losses, with amortization and depreciation expenses of about RMB 300,000 yuan ($42,000) to 400,000 yuan a year for a single station.

Nio Power, Nio's energy arm, will take a few years to turn a profit, but if each battery swap station provides an average of 60 services a day, it could turn a profit, Li said.

In Shanghai, where Nio's battery swap stations have averaged 80 orders a day, the business is already profitable in the city, he said.

As of December 14, Nio had 2,239 battery swap stations in China, 710 of which are located along highways, according to its charging map. The company aims to have 2,300 such facilities in China by the end of the year.

Shanghai is the city with the most Nio battery swap stations, with 145 at present.

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