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NIO electric cars now drive themselves to automatic battery swap stations and queue up

PSP update brings autonomous EV battery swap drives (image: NIO)
PSP update brings autonomous EV battery swap drives (image: NIO)
The autonomous EV charging race is on with NIO at the forefront of the battery swap station concept with thousands already built. It just demonstrated how one of its electric cars can go to a swap station and change the battery all by itself.

From 500 kW chargers to automatic battery swap stations, NIO is one of the most innovative EV charging companies and its latest demonstration only affirms that notion.

After introducing its 3rd generation power station that takes just 3 minutes to swap an empty battery on one of its electric vehicles, NIO is now leaning on the autonomous driving aspect of battery swaps.

In a new video, one of NIO's electric cars drives itself to a battery swap station at night, queues patiently up for the car before it to finish, then enters the bay for a freshly charged battery and drives off into the night.

NIO already has more than 2,000 battery swap stations, including as part of a Shell gas station network partnership. Close to 900 of them are of the new 3.0 generation that allows an extremely quick autonomous switcheroo. What the video posted by NIO's exec wants to demonstrate, however, is the new Power Swap on Pilot (PSP) feature pushed out with the latest software update.

When running on NIO's version of Tesla Autopilot called NOP+ (Navigate on Pilot Plus), the new software allows a car with depleting battery to exit the high-speed highway before a suitable swap station, then go and change the battery all on its own. What the autonomous driving software takes into account now is the final destination keyed in, as well as the swap station load.

As load and availability can't be predicted with absolute certainty, NIO cars on the NT 2.0 platform that can take advantage of this feature, are able to queue up at the station and wait for their turn before the automatic battery swap, too. The race for driver-assist software is on among Chinese EV makers and soon they will be able to turn on their versions of Tesla's FSD Beta in cities after getting the green light from local regulators.

Tesla is prepping a China version of its Full Self-Driving Beta software, too, as several open hiring positions and team member tips suggest. It remains to be seen if Teslas in China will become more autonomous as soon as the FSD V12 update rolls out, as when Elon Musk recently drove the "end to end AI" V12, he mentioned that it is being tested in many places around the globe, as far out as New Zealand. 

Get the ChargePoint Home Flex 50A EV Charger on Amazon


NIO (Weibo) via CNEVPost

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 12 > NIO electric cars now drive themselves to automatic battery swap stations and queue up
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-12- 4 (Update: 2023-12- 5)