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Bet on flexibility, China’s Nio will only rent cars in new EU markets



BERLIN – Chinese tram inventor Nio will only lease The company’s CEO said the cars will be launched in four European markets this year. Reutersbets that flexibility will be a key selling point as drivers transition to new technology.

Users will be able to rent a car with a capacity of 75 kilowatt hours the battery for 1,199-1,295 euros ($1,171-$1,264) a month depending on the length of the subscription, can be as short as a month.

The plan is the company’s latest unique move, allowing customers to rent instead of buy batteries – the most expensive part of electric vehicles (EVs).

Instead of charging their cars at home, Nio owners can also take them to a battery swap station to install a new power supply in minutes to save time.

Now, as it prepares to launch in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, Nio plans to run its businesses there on a corporate rental and subscription model, offering all three Models are available in China – ET7, ET5 and EL7, later renamed in Europe from Chinese name ES7 because of trademark dispute with Volkswagen’s Audi.

“We won’t car sales“, said CEO William Li in an interview at the company’s new ‘Nio House’ showroom in central Berlin, the first of nine new members’ club-style venues. will be open to Nio fans in Europe this year.

“Flexibility is the new premium.”

Nio has sold just under 250,000 vehicles in China and Norway since production began in 2018. Prices range from 50,000 to 70,000 euros ($49,000 to $69,000), depending on the model and whether the customer buys it or not. battery rental.

So far, it has operated on a make-to-order basis, creating pre-ordered products for customers and keeping inventory low.

Nio will continue to sell directly in existing markets in part due to less attractive taxes on models registered in Norway and restrictions around license plates in China, Li said.

SWAP PIN

Nio is facing competition in China from more and more electric vehicle startups Xpeng for Hozon and Leapmotor as well as larger manufacturers such as China’s BYD and Tesla.

In Europe, it will chase Tesla and Volkswagen for the top spot in electric vehicle sales.

Li said the plan is to install at least 120 battery swapping stations in Europe by the end of next year, adding that the problem is not the financial investment but the time and administrative apparatus required. to complete.

The company opened its first factory to produce swap stations in Hungary last month and will consider battery production in the region when battery sales in Europe equate to about 10 gigawatt hours, Li said.

“The advantage of our business separating cars from batteries is that we can achieve economies of scale on batteries faster than cars,” Li said. “Once we hit 10 gigawatt hours, we’ll look at localizing production.”

In China, where that goal has already been achieved, a team of about 700 people is producing batteries on-site, allowing the company to control its battery supply.

In the meantime, Nio is looking for partners beyond its current supplier, CATLLi adds that it aims to acquire new partnerships in the coming year.

“In the long term, we believe that any leading company in the auto industry will soon be producing batteries in-house,” Li said.

Nio’s revenue grew 22% in the second quarter from a year ago while its net loss quadrupled to $410 million.

It delivered just under 32,000 vehicles in September, up 29.3% from the same period last year. Supply chain troubles in China due to the COVID-19 lockdown in August have eased faster than expected, Li said.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee Editing by Rachel More and Mark Potter)

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