Nio Is Expanding To The EV Promised Land

Illustration for article titled Nio Is Expanding To The EV Promised Land
Image: Nio

After a remarkable 2020, Nio is back on an upward trajectory — and its next target is Europe. The fabled EV haven of Norway, to be more precise.

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The Chinese EV startup said Wednesday that on May 6 it will outline plans to sell its cars in Norway. To date, Nio has sold vehicles only in China, so this is a big moment for a brand that was on the brink of collapse a little more than a year ago.

That was before a group of state-backed entities — including tech giants Tencent and Baidu — swooped in to inject the struggling EV firm with more than a billion dollars. It went on to sell more than 40,000 cars last year and followed that up with the introduction of its first sedan, the ET7, in January.

Nio’s lineup currently consists of four vehicles, including three crossovers called the EC6, ES6 and ES8, aside from the aforementioned sedan. At this point we don’t know which models Nio plans to enter Norway with. We also don’t know whether the company will try to grow a network of automated battery swapping stations in the region — a feat it’s been able to pull off and that its contemporaries, including Tesla, have not found success with.

There’s also Nio’s battery-as-a-service pricing scheme to consider, where buyers pay a reduced rate for a vehicle, before a monthly fee for a battery pack of their choice.

We’ll learn next week to what degree all of these aspects factor into Nio’s European introduction Europe. Don’t be surprised to see the company extend farther west, depending on how its products are received in Norway. In February, a financial analyst discovered the startup was looking to hire personnel to “formulate an action plan to enter the U.S. market.” Given the suspicion the U.S. government tends to hold toward Chinese tech firms, that might be easier said than done. But Nio seems keen on giving it a shot anyway.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. 2017 Fiesta ST. Wishes NASCAR was more like Daytona USA.

DISCUSSION

This seems like a pretty big deal to me. If Nio’s build quality and products can succeed in what I believe is the country with the highest EV adoption rate, it would be a big statement. On the other hand, if Norwegian’s don’t buy them, that’ll be a pretty big hit to their reputation.