To establish itself in the electric car market, the Chinese manufacturer Nio is carefully working on the question of autonomy. If its battery exchange formula seems to be successful in China, its main asset for Europe may well lie in a new battery allowing around 900 kilometers after full recharge.
Strong sales growth in China
Those who predicted the demise of Nio in mid-2019, especially after the massive recall of models already sold due to a risk of battery fire, were wrong. The brand has never done so well.
With 31,430 ES8, ES6 and EC6 electric SUVs sold since the start of the year, Nio has more than doubled its sales (+111.4%) compared to the same period in fiscal 2019.
A trend confirmed last month, with 5,055 traction battery cars delivered: 2,695 ES6 (5-seater electric SUV) + 1,477 ES8 (6-7-seater SUV) + 883 EC6 (5-seater coupé SUV). As of October 31, 2020, Nio has launched 63,343 electric passenger cars on the roads since its creation.
What to acquire a certain notoriety on its territory and some letters of nobility to spread beyond the borders, and in particular in Europe.
In Europe in 2021?
In May 2019, Lihong Qin, president of Nio, said he made “an absolute priority” of its introduction in Europe. He was not seriously considering the scenario until 2025.
But in the heart of summer, this program was already giving way to an arrival in the second half of 2021. History not to be left behind by the Chinese competition already there or in the process of being, like Aiways, BYD, Byton, Xpeng, and MG (a subsidiary of SAIC Motor).
The media Gasgoo, specialized in information on the automobile, seems to have gathered some secrets on the subject. Within 2 years, Nio hopes to sell a volume of 7,000 electric SUVs per year made up of its bestsellers ES6 and ES8. This roadmap would bear the evocative name of “Marco Polo”.
Launch in Copenhagen?
It was in the Danish city of Copenhagen that Nio would settle first. And this, in order to take advantage of the government program banning the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars from 2023. The official schedule also provides for a rolling stock of at least one million electric vehicles by this deadline. Denmark was also chosen for its port development which facilitates imports.
The Chinese manufacturer has started to mobilize its troops for a European deployment which primarily affects the countries most active on the continent in electric mobility. One can therefore imagine that Sweden, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and France are already among the target territories.
What services would Nio offer then? A priori the possibility of renting the battery at a flat rate without kilometric constraints to be respected, an itinerant recharging brigade, etc. The battery swap will most likely not be implemented initially. Last summer, 500,000 swaps had already been made in China.
150 kWh battery
The current electric SUVs marketed by the Chinese manufacturer receive batteries of 70 or 84 kWh of energy capacity. A new model of packs (100 kWh) arrives at the end of November and would provide nearly 600 kilometers of range with the electric coupe SUV EC6.
Chinese media CnTechPost reports a statement by Nio founder William Li Bin to a user club that a 150 kWh battery capable of providing 900 km of range in home electric SUVs is under development .
By doubling its radius of action, the ES6 which would be equipped with it would then become the first electric car capable of truly competing with equivalent thermal models, including Japanese hybrids, in stop frequency for refueling. This would be even more true with the 3-minute battery exchange already operational at Nio.
Cell chemistry, energy density, cost of production, etc. : William Li Bin no doubt reserves this information for the Nio Day scheduled for January 9, 2021. This event will provide an opportunity to clarify the details of the arrival in Europe of the Chinese manufacturer.