NIO wants to expand in Europe by leasing and swapping batteries

Nio president and co-founder Qin Lihong said the company will open 1,000 battery swapping stations outside China by 2025, mostly in Europe. The company's first overseas plant is in Hungary, where it makes battery swapping stations and other power products.

Qin told Reuters, "We're ahead of our competitors in products and services." In three years, more EVs will be launched in Europe, but we're making progress.

The company believes separating the battery from ownership gives it a cost advantage over competitors. In China, Nio formed a company with CATL to lease battery packs and collect subscription fees from Nio owners. 

Nio wants to partner with a European asset company to finance its battery leasing program, says Qin.

Nio's battery swapping technology provides a faster charging alternative and shifts costs and risks to the company, not the owner.

Norway leads the company's European strategy, where it has sold 800 ES8 electric SUVs and installed two swapping stations. 

This local launch has given Nio confidence that the ES8 is "comprehensively ahead" of European alternatives. This year, it'll launch the ET5 and ET7 sedans in Europe.