Huang Chunhua, general manager of marketing for Aulton New Energy Group, a leading enterprise in the field of battery swapping, revealed in an interview with the China Securities Journal on Wednesday that the company has started IPO preparations and will soon begin round C financing.
Aulton New Energy was established in 2016 and mainly engages in power battery swapping and charging services, battery life cycle management and the commercial operations of battery swapping stations. Since 2018, the Shanghai-based firm has completed four rounds of financing from investors such as EV maker NIO, Softbank’s energy subsidiary, Sinopec, and CY Capital. The company’s round B of financing reached 1.5 billion yuan ($223 million).
It is worth mentioning that NIO and Sinopec not only invest Aulton, but also have cooperative and competitive relations with Aulton. On April 15, 2021, Sinopec signed strategic cooperation agreements with both Aulton and NIO to lay out its battery swapping business.
At present, Aulton is building or has put into operation more than 610 battery swapping stations that currently cover 36 cities throughout China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Haikou and Sanya. The company plans to be operating more than 10,000 battery swapping stations nationwide by 2025 with the ability to provide services for more than 10 million new energy vehicles. “In the second half of this year, we will release a new generation of battery swapping stations, and the company’s service targets will move from enterprises to individual consumers,” Huang said.
At present, Aulton’s battery swapping stations derive much of their revenue by providing franchise and basic battery swapping services. “It generally takes only 3 to 4 years to achieve breakeven for a battery swapping station with policy support and effective operation. At the end of this year, our stations in Beijing, Shanghai, Sanya and other cities are expected to achieve their breakeven points,” Huang added.
As early as March this year, Yang Ye, co-founder and senior vice president of Aulton New Energy, disclosed the plans for a round C financing which would be launched soon. Yang commented on the upcoming financing round, saying, “At present, leading energy capitals, industrial funds and partners are paying close attention to it and are ready to participate in the investment.”
However, things haven’t been clear sailing for the company as there has been at least one safety accident at one of the company’s battery swapping stations recently. According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, on April 19, a fire broke out in a battery swapping station in Shijingshan District, Beijing. On April 25, the company responded to the incident saying that the cause of the fire was due to a battery in the thermal runaway that had shortcircuited.