"NIO sales are setting new all-time highs every month, which we estimate may become a norm in the near future and reflects customer acceptance", said Shen Feng, executive vice president of NIO, on October 27.
On October 27-29, 2020, the China Society of Automotive Engineering Annual Meeting and Exhibition and the 7th International Annual Conference on Smart Connected Vehicle Technology was held in Shanghai.
The theme of the conference was "Auto+, Collaborative Innovation", with in-depth discussions on topics such as new energy vehicle technology, smart connected vehicle technology, and key common automotive technologies.
Shen Feng said, "NIO's stock price is going up, which reflects the capital market's recognition of the future. At the same time, the government is very supportive of NIO.
He said NIO is expanding the deployment of battery swap stations and is now working on a new generation of battery swap stations.
Shen also mentioned that a while ago he went to Beijing to participate in the development of the battery swap standard, "basically it's led by us and BAIC, now the standard has been approved."
The following is a translation of the text of Shen Feng's interview with Sohu Auto.
Q: Has NIO considered hybrids and new energy systems, such as hydrogen or fuel cells, in terms of routes? Will hydrogen energy be industrialized in the future or replace purely electric routes, or will multiple power modes co-exist? How long would this be if multiple technology paths co-existed?
Shen Feng: In fact, from the academician Li Jun just released the "energy-saving and new energy vehicle technology roadmap 2.0" on a clearer look, is definitely (technology route) diversification of development. The gasoline engine will still exist, but the demand for energy efficiency will be higher and higher, and the hybrid will also be better and better.
But the general direction of development is like what academician Li Jun said, China's new energy is definitely pure electric, and it is hoped that by 2035, the number of new energy vehicles will account for more than half of all passenger cars, and 90% of new energy vehicles will be pure electric vehicles. I believe this general direction is still very clear.
In terms of the ultimate goal, the development of hydrogen fuel cells is a better solution, but there is still a long way to go, so this may still be a long-term thing.
In the current planning, (NIO) is definitely aiming at the development of pure electric power, we just need to do a good job of smart electric vehicles.
We have a leading edge in that our car is not just a car, but a system. This system involves the design of the car, the design of the battery swap station, our battery swap station has about 2,000 patents, it is a more complex system.
In the future, we hope that all the different models of cars, all the different types of batteries can be interchangeable. This year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also issued a lot of documents, the battery swap technology and planning is also very recognized, which has played a great role in promoting the development of the industry.
In August, NIO launched a plan to buy only the car but not the battery, so that when customers buy our new energy vehicles, they can buy only the car but not the battery, and remove the battery separately.
Under such a scheme, the purchase price of the car can be immediately reduced by RMB 70,000, so this scheme brings a lot of benefits.
In terms of time, the battery swap may take less time than refueling, and is better in terms of safety. Every battery swap will do a safety checkup.
For the user, the car is much cheaper to buy and there is no need to worry about the battery.
Because he does not own the battery, the battery is the property of the electronic asset company, so the owner just need to use it with confidence.
We believe that the battery swap model will get better and better as we move forward.
Q: At present, the new car manufacturing forces and traditional enterprises are doing high-end new energy vehicles, how do you see this competitive trend of high-end industry?
Shen Feng: That's a good question. China's auto industry has been on the road to improving its brand image for many years, with Chery, Geely, BYD and Great Wall all making great efforts.
Before NIO came along, there had been some success, but it wasn't quite there yet. I remember the earlier days when the independent brands were almost priced at RMB 150,000 was a ceiling that was hard to break.
Then Rmb 150,000 was a breakthrough, and the next Rmb 200,000 or Rmb 250,000 was a ceiling.
The price of NIO ES6 starts from 350,000 RMB, and many users will buy various configurations. the price of ES8 is close to 500,000 RMB, and it still has such a large sales volume, which is really a high-end brand.
We hope that the brand influence and brand reputation of China's auto industry can be improved, so that the entire Chinese auto brand can take a step forward.
We still see a positive trend, including Hongqi, which has also made great progress. This is a welcome phenomenon for China's auto industry, and I believe that with everyone's efforts, the road will get better and better.
From the product point of view, in fact, the styling of many independent brands is already quite beautiful, and car companies have introduced many foreign design masters.
In terms of product power, both the powertrain and the driving experience have done a good job.
In terms of intelligence, Chinese car products have already gone ahead of others. I believe that Chinese brand high-end will go further, should make great progress.
Q: What kind of scale do you think battery swap will reach in the future? In addition, NIO announced that after October 11, customers will no longer be able to enjoy free lifetime unlimited battery swap on their cars.
Shen Feng: As a system, the battery swap has a lot of good points. At present, there are almost only two in China: BAIC for the commercial vehicle market, we for the passenger car market.
A while ago I went to Beijing to participate in the development of the battery swap standard, basically it's led by us and BAIC, now the standard has been approved.
In terms of usage scenario, the highway demand for battery swap station is more rigid. Because in the city, users can choose to charge at home, there are many charging stations and other auxiliary means.
We've seen the many benefits of battery swap for users and the increased safety that it brings, so we're definitely expanding the deployment of battery swap stations in the future. We are now working on a new generation of battery swap stations as well.
NIO will deploy battery swap stations faster and faster, and if there is more cooperation and collaboration in the industry, I believe we can do a better job of it.
From a technical point of view, it is not easy to change the internal system of different car models and batteries without human management.
The cars and batteries are both big and small, and there is a BMS to consider, so there will be a lot of technical work to do.
But once it's done, the changes it will bring to the industry will be huge.
So we look forward to the development of this industry, whether this piece can go to the end or not, we will strongly support.
Last year we made a decision to offer free battery swap to all users at that time, you can also see it as a paralyzing method for us, including Tesla had also done free fast charging.
But as the volume got bigger, we proposed 6 times a month free battery swap, which is actually very good for users.
Q: Because you just mentioned that all of our internal models can achieve battery swap, so I would like to ask when can achieve cross-brand battery swap, specifically divided into several stages, how do you plan to land.
Shen Feng: At present, the whole industry has these ideas, but it involves a lot of things.
If you want to do so, it will involve a lot of technical things, involving the car's hardware design, high voltage system design, the battery involved, BMS and so on.
It may take some time at the moment, and how you say it will really end up on the ground may be the separation of the body from the battery.
In fact, you will understand a lot about this matter once you experience it yourself. We showed the battery swap station at the Beijing and Shanghai Auto Show, where the battery was changing all the time, so you'll understand if you do a test drive.
We have a lot of data in the background, for example, there are 155 battery swap stations, on average every day each battery swap station about forty or fifty times, almost tens of thousands of times a month or even more than a hundred thousand times the battery swap data, so we have accumulated a lot of experience in this area.
In real operation, there are all kinds of models, all kinds of different conditions, such as the weather, but the battery swap station also needs to deal with all kinds of conditions, to make the battery swap perfect. So, from an engineering perspective and an operational perspective, the battery swap station is a huge challenge.
Q: A while ago, NIO's Hefei headquarters was put into operation, because Hefei is a fast growing city with a lot of inclusiveness and development prospects. I would like to ask you, what can NIO bring to Hefei? What does Hefei bring to NIO?
Shen Feng: Recently there happens to be an article in Hefei newspaper, you can go and read it. The mayor of Hefei said a lot of things at a meeting, basically the idea is that Hefei's investment in NIO is because it has an eye on the smart electric vehicle market, so the determination in this regard is very strong.
This focus on the smart electric car, we can see from all aspects of NIO is a very successful case.
NIO will definitely continue to develop in this area, if you are paying attention to our monthly sales recently, basically every month is a new record high, right?
We estimate that every month we're going to set a new record high, and it's probably going to be the norm in the near future, and it's going to keep going forward, and that also reflects the recognition of the entire user market.
You can see at the same time that our share price keeps going up, and that also reflects the recognition of the capital market for the future, and then the government recognizes it very much and gives a lot of support.
From the current trend, we believe that we will help Hefei to drive more automotive industry.
We also hope that Hefei can rely on its own resources in all aspects to attract more automotive industry to Hefei. This will be of great help to the technological development of our supply chain and the logistics of our supply chain.