patent law

NIO’s Replaceable Battery Patent

NIO (aka Wallstreet’s second favorite electric vehicle manufacturer) has a patent that covers a removable battery pack that attaches to a chassis of the vehicle. A month ago today, NIO’s stock was $3.63. At the moment it is trading over $13.00.

This patent is compatible with NIO’s battery swapping feature, which sets it apart from competitors like Tesla. According to this article, NIO has 136 automated swap stations along busy highways in China for NIO users to swap out their batteries for a freshly charged battery within minutes. Tesla, on the other hand, has focused its efforts on creating a network of fast-chargers.

In this patent (US9937818B2), the vehicle chassis (14) includes a network of rails that interface with the battery pack (16) to provide a stable mounting structure. This design inhibits impact forces while utilizing fewer connection points and fasteners (thereby making the battery removal and installation easier and faster).

A general takeaway from this patent is that, although we typically associate battery technology with battery chemistry, packaging, and battery management software, we should be mindful in protecting mechanical aspects that relate to interfacing the battery with a larger system, in this case, a vehicle.

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