After the ES8 SUV, Nio is preparing to market the ET7 and ET5 sedans in Germany and Norway before the end of the year. The brand also wants to develop its battery rental offer to replace batteries, to “recharge” them in five minutes.
Like other Chinese electric car manufacturers such as BYD with its Seal or Xpeng with its P5, Nio entered the European market via Norway. The company has already started to set up several battery exchange stations in the area. But that’s not all, as it also markets a first model there, namely the ES8 SUV. But as you can imagine, others were soon to follow, with expansion into other countries.
Two models on the way
In fact, and as confirmed by Qin Lihong, co-founder of the Chinese brand at the American agency Reuters, two more vehicles will arrive in Europe before the end of the year. It will then be ET7 and ET5, two electric sedans that Nio has already revealed for several months. Competitors to the Tesla Model S and Model 3 respectively, they will be launched in Norway and Germany by the end of the year.
Last July, the vice president of the brand, Hui Zhang, announced his intention to enter this market. It is also there that Nio installed a new battery replacement station a few days ago. France was to be served later, potentially in 2023.
As a reminder, the Nio ET7 will play the role of standard bearer for the brand in Europe and will be available in several versions with batteries from 70 to 150 kWh, allowing it to travel between 500 and 1,000 kilometers according to the old European CLTC cycle. The ET5 should also show a similar autonomy and then carry the same batteries. Remember that you need to remove about 15% to find the European mixed WLTP range, or about 850 km.
If nothing is specified, it could be the Qilin CTP 3.0 developed by CATL, while Nio has already established a partnership with the Chinese company as part of its battery rental offering. This accumulator is also able to go from 10 to 80% in just ten minutes, provided it is connected to a sufficiently powerful terminal. Nio has just unveiled its own, 500 kW strong and soon to be established in China and Europe.
But it must be a battery with special chemistry, semi-solid type, which is not developed by CATL but by WeLion. Note that the 150 kWh battery that allows to reach 1,000 km of autonomy is not yet on the market and should be available during the fourth quarter of 2022.
Today, only Nio customers can benefit from Battery Swap, a fully automated system that takes just five minutes. Several accumulators are available, installed in dedicated locations, while one is free to store the empty battery from the vehicle. At the end of the operation, the driver leaves with a full car.
However, to access this service, you must then have registered for the battery rental offer. A system that is not widespread in the market, although Renault had offered it with its Zoé a few years earlier. This strategy is particularly aimed at attracting European customers by advertising that they only have a few minutes to recharge their car.
The Nio will not be alone in this segment for long, as the SAIC group (which owns the MG brand with the all-new MG4 in particular) has just announced the opening of battery exchange stations in China. Future MGs should have this feature.
In Norway, buying the battery for the Nio ES8 costs about $8,700 for the 75 kWh pack, while renting costs about $135 a month. As Reuters explains, this choice still comes at a cost to the Nio, which partly explains why it is the only brand to offer this system. But this one seems to work fine while the majority of Norwegian customers and more than half of the buyers in China chose battery leasing.
The brand therefore has every possible interest in developing this offer, which, according to it, makes it possible to be “completely ahead” in relation to brands such as BMW or Mercedes. In order to accelerate development, Nio therefore wants to partner with an asset management company in Europe to finance these rental batteries.
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