Thursday, October 21, 2021

Electric cars: NIO (NYSE: NIO)

NIO is a Chinese automobile manufacturer headquartered in Shanghai, specializing in designing and developing electric autonomous vehicles. The company is also involved in the FIA Formula E Championship, the first single-seater, all-electric racing series.

NIO ES8, a full-size SUV
Powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, a package that is also swappable

CEO William Li said Nio should reach annual production capacity of 150,000 units by the end of 2021. Longer term, Nio aims to double output to 300,000 per year. For context, Nio delivered 20,565 electric vehicles in 2019.

William Li Bin, CEO of Nio, rings the bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the company’s initial public offering in September, 2018. Photo: Reuters

Estimated to be worth around US$2.8 billion, Li founded Shanghai-based Nio in 2014, with the company taking orders for its first electric SUV in December 2017. Nio raised US$2.1 billion in funding before going public in September 2018 on the New York Stock Exchange, with Li ringing the bell.

Born in August 1974 on a dairy farm in Anhui province. Li attended Peking University where he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology as well as a minor in law.

After receiving investments from major tech companies such as Tencent, Baidu and Lenovo, Li founded Nio in 2014. By 2016, it had debuted its two-door sports car, Nio EP9, at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Six EP9s were sold to investors for £2.5 million (US$3.2 million) each and the EP9 went on to set fastest lap records for an electric vehicle at various race circuits around the world.

JPMorgan expects the EV share of the total China car market to quadruple to 20% in 2025 from under 5% in 2019. The costs of producing EVs and traditional vehicles will reach parity by 2023, driven by lower battery costs, the firm says.

China, the world's biggest market for electric cars, wants EVs to be 25% of all new car sales by 2025.

Unlike Tesla, Nio does not manufacture its own vehicles. It partners with China's Jianghuai Automobile Group on manufacturing the ES8, ES6 and EC6 utility vehicles.

As part of its "Battery as a Service" strategy, Nio also runs battery-leasing and battery-swapping services. Essentially, the car and the battery are sold separately. Subscribers to the program can rent the battery for a monthly fee.

Battery swapping was first available on the NIO ES8
Unlike Tesla, which has tried battery swapping but has never deployed it on a large scale and relies instead on its Supercharger network, Nio has built a functioning network of 131 battery-swap stations that covers a few thousand kilometers of Chinese expressways.


The NIO ET7 was unveiled in China on 9 January 2021 at the 'NIO Day' event in Chengdu, retaining many design cues of the 2019 NIO ET Preview concept car. It will be launched in early 2022 with a starting price of ¥448.000 (~$69,200 USD). It acts as a direct competitor to Tesla's Model S sedan in China.

Range of 621 miles (or a nice, round 1,000km).

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