Founded in 2014 on the principles of technological innovation and smart design, Nio has been generating some serious global buzz recently. In this article, we'll take a look at the Nio brand and why it is so distinct from other vehicle manufacturers.
Who is Nio?
Nio's Chinese name, Weilai, literally means "blue sky coming," which seems appropriate for the company's optimistic trajectory.
Originally, the company had little experience when it came to vehicle manufacturing; however, today it partners with a state-owned auto manufacturer to produce electric vehicles (EVs) to rival competitors like Tesla.
Nio's Early Success
Nio began manufacturing in 2017. By 2018, the Shanghai-based company delivered its first vehicle.
The debut model was the ES8, which was a seven-seat luxury SUV with a starting price of $68,000. Since that time, the company has produced three additional models, with more than 100,000 vehicles sold as of August of 2021.
Nio's latest offering is the ET7, a premium sedan that's expected to be delivered in 2022. The ET7 will come with a 70.0-kWh battery, providing 300 miles of range.
Nio is also offering an optional 100.0-kWh battery to extend the mileage to 435 miles. The company claims to be working on a 150.0-kWh battery that would extend the car's range to 620 miles.
Writing in Forbes magazine, Selika Josiah Talbott describes her experience riding in the current Nio ES8. She notes the array of advanced gadgets and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies integrated into the vehicle, including Nomi.
Nomi is a voice-controlled program that functions as something of an in-car virtual assistant, answering questions and enhancing the driving experience.
Nio has also pioneered a battery-swap feature that adds considerable value. Rather than stopping to recharge the battery, you can stop at a participating service station, where your dead battery is swapped with a battery that's fully charged and ready to go. So far, this model has only been adopted in China, but if the U.S. would adopt this model, it could revolutionize the EV industry.
Nio vs. Tesla
Nio's CEO, William Li, says "We want to provide better product and service at prices lower than Tesla, Inc's." If Nio perfects their long-range battery, they may win on both counts.
Currently, Tesla's top-performing Model S Long-Range can travel a max of 402 miles on a battery charge. The Nio ET7, if equipped with a 150.0-kWh battery, will beat this range by over 200 miles.
With a starting price at around $69,000, Nio undercuts the Tesla by $20,000.
The EV market is marked by fierce competition, but Nio is currently holding its own against industry rivals, making it one of the most successful EV startups in history. Their advanced features surpass those of Tesla's top performers, and U.S. consumers may soon have greater access to Nio's advanced products.