China’s southwestern, central and eastern regions have seen their worst heat wave in six decades with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees celsius (104F) for nearly.
The heatwave started nearly 70 days ago and is “prolonged, wide in scope, and strong in extremity,” China’s National Climate Center said in a statement. Chengdu — the capital of Sichuan province — is one of the most affected cities having about 21 million people and is a key region for the production of semiconductor and solar panels.
In response to the energy shortage, the EV maker NIO said on its official app that it had to close several Battery Swap Stations in the most affected areas due to “severe overload on the grid under the persisting high temperatures.”
Furthermore, also the automaker Tesla “turned off or restrictes services at more than a dozen super-charging stations” in Chengdu and in Chongqing. The company has now only two stations in operation and only off the peak hours, Bloomberg reported citing local media.
How bad it is the situation right now?
On Tuesday, China’s national observatory renewed the most severe warning in its four-tier warning system for high temperatures, as heat waves continue in many parts of the country.
Mirko Woitzik, the global director of intelligence solutions for Everstream Analytics, told Fortune that “The situation has worsened in the past few days”.
He added that “in terms of factory closures, last week was one of the worst weeks in China, with the overall situation approaching levels last seen during the severe COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai/Kunshan” earlier this year.
When it comes to Shanghai, where NIO is headquartered, Woitzik said the limits on the amount of electricity that can be produced have led to disruptions at “more than a dozen auto manufacturers, affected lithium producers, and slowed the processing of semiconductors at key facilities”.
In Chengdu, a drone footage shared on TikTok, showed over 40 vehicles waiting on the line of one of the charging stations.
While the drivers that have the home charging option in the most affected regions of China might be able to handle the situation in short routes, commercial vehicles and long-distance trips are being highly affected in the country causing several hours of waiting time.
What is NIO doing in the most affected cities?
In order to help reducing the pressure on the grid, NIO has created a plan with awards for the users in the Sichuan province that share their home chargers between August 20 and September 20 applying a reverse swap.
The users are now charging their batteries in the early morning and swapping them for low charged ones allowing other drivers to get a fully charged battery for longer trips.
On the app, the company said “in the electric valley period, when the early morning hours, charge the battery and then swap the fully charged battery to the swap station for a low-battery one during peak power usage”.
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For the users that enter this program, the EV maker awards them with NIO points which they can use later on NIO products and services.
Based on a map sent to EV by a NIO user based in Chengdu, the company has around 25 battery swap stations in the central area of which eleven were available to use, as of press time.
Earlier today, the company said via its official App that the first batch of ET5 production line pre-production vehicles officially rolled off the production line at NIO’s second factory at NEO Park in Hefei, China.
Earlier this week, NIO posted a video of the shipping process of 200 NIO ET7 units confirming EV‘s recent report on August 11, the day that the ship left Lianyungang’s port in China.
Apart from that ship, Germany and Norway received another batch of NIO’s bigger sedan although in smaller quantities given its final purposes: test drives, internal road tests and presence at the showrooms.