After the ES8 SUV, Nio is preparing to market the Nio ET7 and Nio ET5 sedans in Germany and Norway by the end of the year. The brand also wants to develop its battery rental offer to exchange 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 has entered the European market via Norway. The company has already started by setting up several battery exchange stations in the country. But that’s not all, since it is also marketing its first model there, the ES8 SUV. But as you can imagine, others should follow soon, with an expansion in other countries.
NIO ET7 and ET5: TWO MODELS ARE COMING
Indeed, as Qin Lihong, co-founder of the Chinese brand, confirmed to the American agency Reuters, two other vehicles will arrive in Europe by the end of the year. These will be the Nio ET7 and Nio ET5, two electric sedans unveiled by Nio several months ago. Respectively rivals of the Tesla Model S and Model 3, they will be launched in Norway and Germany by the end of the year.
Last July, the brand’s vice-president, Hui Zhang, announced his intention to enter this market. Nio installed a new battery exchange station there a few days ago. France should be served later, potentially in 2023.
As a reminder, the Nio ET7 will play the role of the brand’s flagship in Europe. It will be available in several versions with batteries ranging from 70 to 150 kWh, allowing a range of between 500 and 1,000 kilometers according to the old European CLTC cycle. The Nio ET5 should also have a similar field, using the same batteries. It should be remembered that about 15 percent of the range must be removed to achieve the WLTP European combined capacity of about 850 km.
While nothing was specified, it could be the Qilin CTP 3.0 developed by CATL, while Nio has already partnered with the Chinese company as part of its battery rental offering. This battery can also go from 10 to 80 percent in just ten minutes, provided it is plugged into a sufficiently robust terminal. Nio has just unveiled its own 500 kW terminal, which will soon be installed in China and Europe.
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But it should be a battery with particular chemistry, a semi-solid type, which is not developed by CATL but by WeLion. It should be noted that the 150 kWh battery, which will provide 1,000 km of autonomy, is not yet on the market and should be available in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Today, only Nio customers can take advantage of the battery exchange, a fully automated system that takes just five minutes. Several batteries are available, installed in dedicated slots, while one is left free to store the empty battery from the vehicle. At the end of the operation, the driver leaves with a full car.
But to have access to this service, it is necessary to have subscribed to the battery rental offer. This system is not very common on the market, even though Renault offered it with its Zoe a few years ago. This strategy is intended to attract European customers by announcing that it will only take a few minutes to recharge their car.
Nio will not be alone in this segment for long, as the SAIC group (which owns the MG brand, including the brand new MG4) has just announced the opening of battery exchange stations in China. The next MGs should be equipped with this feature.
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In Norway, the Nio ES8’s battery costs about $8,700 to buy for the 75 kWh pack, while leasing expenses about $135 per month. As Reuters explains, this choice still comes at a cost to Nio, which is part of why it is the only brand to offer this system. But it seems to be working well, as the majority of Norwegian customers and more than half of buyers in China have opted for battery leasing.
Therefore, it is in the brand’s interest to develop this offer, which allows it to be “completely ahead” of brands such as BMW or Mercedes. To accelerate its development, Nio wants to partner with an asset management company in Europe to finance these leased batteries.