EV start-up NIO to launch new consumer brand to rival Tesla with annual capacity of 500,000 vehicles per year

Author: Eric Walz

NIO’s new ES7 electric SUV was unveiled this week.

Electric vehicle startup NIO Inc. is already emerging as a formidable rival to Tesla in China, with its tech-laden and more affordable electric vehicles.

But NIO aims to launch a new brand of electric vehicles offering even more affordable vehicles to better compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y in the Chinese market, CEO and Chairman William Bin Li said Thursday. The sub-brand will have an annual capacity of 500,000 electric vehicles per year.

The new brand’s models are reportedly priced between 200,000 yuan ($29,840) and 300,000 yuan ($44,750), about 10 percent cheaper than Tesla’s Model 3 in China. The vehicles will also have interchangeable batteries, according to Li.

Tesla’s Model 3 sedan starts at 279,900 yuan ($41,672) in China.

NIO’s plans were reported by local media outlet Gasgoo.

Li also said NIO’s new consumer electric vehicle brand will provide the models that support Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y in China, but will be around 10% cheaper with interchangeable batteries. Deliveries of vehicles under NIO’s new consumer brand would begin in the second half of 2024, according to Gasgoo.

The vehicles will be built on NIO’s new NT3.0 electric vehicle platform.

As reported by Chinese new outlet Gasgoo, Li said that NIO had already signed with the local authority of Hefei Economic and Technological Development Zone last month for the construction of the second phase of a electric vehicles at NeoPark in Xinqiao, Hefei, Anhui Province.

NeoPark is designed to be a world-class smart electric vehicle industrial park for the research and development of battery-powered vehicles, core components and self-driving technologies. The 16,950 acre park has three main areas, smart manufacturing, R&D and living space.

According to Gasgoo, citing a local government official WeChat account. The agreement was signed on June 10.

The new facility will be a high-end, low-carbon aluminum die-casting and recycling industrial park to help meet China’s carbon neutral goals. The facility aims to be a circular industrial line for aluminum die casting of vehicle bodies.

The first phase of the industrial park will focus on the refined dismantling of complete vehicles, the recycling of aluminum and other materials, the smelting of aluminum materials, the die casting of aluminum and the manufacture of wheel hubs.

The first-stage facility is expected to come into operation in the first half of 2023, targeting a production capacity of 300,000 tons of aluminum castings with an annual output value of 10 billion yuan ($1.49 billion).

Once operational, the industrial park will reduce carbon emissions from NIO’s electric vehicle aluminum die-casting process by approximately 50%.

NIO also unveiled its new ES7 SUV this week. Pre-orders for the new electric SUV are already open and deliveries should start at the end of August. NIO is positioning its new electric SUV as a competitor to BMW’s X5 Li sold in China. Pricing for the ES7 is 468,000-548,000 yuan ($69,677-$81,588).

In addition to the launch of the ES7, NIO announced an upgrade to its SUVs. Updated models feature more powerful smart tech, including a faster CPU and GPU, 5G connectivity, an AI-powered voice assistant, HD surround-view cameras and more, according to the CEO Li.

With the launch of the ES7 this week, NIO currently offers six electric models. The others are the ES8 and ES6 SUVs, the ET5 and ET7 sedans and the EC6 fastback. NIO’s first model was the ES8, launched in 2018 in China.

Last week, NIO announced plans to produce its own battery packs to increase profitability and competitiveness in the growing EV segment, rather than relying on a supplier of expensive EV batteries.

NIO plans to manufacture high-voltage batteries developed in-house to better compete with Tesla in its home market, as well as in Europe, which is NIO’s largest overseas market outside of China. NIO plans to begin producing more powerful 800-volt batteries in the second half of 2024.

NIO’s battery manufacturing plans were shared by CEO Li during a call with analysts last week.

Most electric vehicles are equipped with 400 volt batteries. However, 800 volt batteries can accept higher charge rates for fast charging in as little as 15 minutes. These high-voltage batteries are also used in the Porsche Taycan electric sedan.

Batteries produced by NIO will be used in vehicles produced by NIO’s new electric vehicle brand in the second half of 2024.

NIO would also seek to build an electric vehicle factory in the United States.based on job vacancies posted in China.

According to job postings, NIO is looking to hire “Overseas Manufacturing Park Planning Specialists”, “Overseas Project Body Process Specialists”, “Overseas Project Planning and infrastructures abroad” and “logistics project managers abroad”.

The job description shows that candidates for Overseas Manufacturing Park Planning Specialists should have experience managing two or more comprehensive masterplan projects, at least one of which should be in the United States .

NIO job postings further require candidates to have sufficient knowledge of U.S. State policies, design codes, and planning submission procedures, and be familiar with “Process and Master Plan Principles”. the United States”.

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