B2C battery swapping model: a supply chain innovation perspective

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Yi, Lei
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Battery Swapping Model (BSM), a new form of electric vehicle (EV) replenishment, has been widely employed in the Business-to-Business (B2B) EV market to complement the charging model. Nio, a Chinese EV manufacturer, is one of the few but most representative in the Business to Customer (B2C) BSM, yet there is no literature that provides insight about it. This thesis builds a theoretical framework from supply chain innovation (SCI) perspective and uses a case study to answer (1) why Nio chose B2C BSM; (2) what SCI Nio has done; and (3) how Nio and other supply chain stakeholders have achieved SCI. Through semi-structured interviews, this thesis finds that in addition to external motivators such as policy incentives and rapid EV market expansion, Nio's pursuit of user experience, value-added battery assets, and energy replenishment efficiency are also important internal motivators. For innovation content, the B2C BSM is rooted in Nio's user-first business strategy and provides value-add for supply chain stakeholders through business model innovation, specifically in lowering EV purchase prices, eliminating battery depreciation, providing flexible battery leasing solutions, and maximizing battery value through gradient utilization and large-scale recycling. Also, battery, swapping station, and cloud-based battery data platform are the three main directions of technology innovation. In terms of innovation process, supply chain learning and supply chain collaboration play an active role in SCI, and their breadth and depth are dynamically changing with the development of SCI. This thesis is the first case study to systematically analyze B2C BSM, bridging the gap that academia has lagged far behind the rapid development of the BSM. This thesis suggests the inclusion of government roles, implicit competition in supply chain collaboration, and implementation costs in SCI theoretical discussions, and highlights the importance of dynamic capability theory, stakeholder theory, and competition-cooperation theory to the SCI literature.
Battery Swapping Model, Supply Chain Innovation, Battery Electric Vehicle