Chinese EV carmaker Nio has launched a 100-kWh battery pack that features a cell-to-pack (CTP) design, which can be used for its existing vehicles like the ES8, ES6, and EC6. Enabling owners to upgrade their battery pack is relatively rare in the industry, but the company is doing just that by offering a number of upgrade plans.

Previously, Nio offered its electric vehicles with a 70- or 84-kWh battery pack that provided up to 410 or 510 km of range, based on the NEDC standard. The 100-kWh unit takes things further by enabling up to 615 km of range on a single charge.

According to the company, the CTP design allows for up to 37% higher energy density and is backed by 300 filed patents. It also offers better thermal runaway management and improved space utilisation by 19.8%, while a highly integrated design helps to streamline the manufacturing process by 40%.

Nio models with the 100-kWh battery have been made available for pre-order as of November 7, but existing users of the 70-kWh battery have the option to either purchase the new battery for a permanent upgrade, or “subscribe” to it for 880 yuan (RM547) per month or 7,980 yuan (RM4,963) per year.

The company calls the latter the Battery as a Service (BaaS), which is already offered for the 70-kWh battery. As previously mentioned, customers who choose this route won’t need to buy the battery, but will instead subscribe to the capacity that suits their needs and pay the listed fee.

There are benefits, as customers who buy a Nio car with BaaS plan and a 70-kWh battery will enjoy 70,000 yuan (RM43,535) off the purchase price, but will pay 980 yuan (RM610) a month for the battery subscription. Meanwhile, the same plan with a 100-kWh battery will see savings of up to 128,000 yuan (RM79,620) and a monthly fee of 1,480 yuan (RM921).

Nio vehicles are equipped with an innovative battery-swapping technology that allows their battery packs to be swapped out with ease when depleted. The process takes around three minutes and is fully automated, allowing owners who might not have a fixed parking space or charging station to get a freshly-charged battery quickly.

There are currently 158 battery swap stations in China, which have served users with over 1.18 million battery swaps. “Nio’s unique service system with vehicle-battery separation and battery subscription enabled by chargeable, swappable and upgradable batteries is a breakthrough innovation in both technology and business model,” the company said in its release.