Chinese electric vehicle maker launches NIO

Image Nio

Image Nio

Tesla's Model X, which is popular on the mainland despite its price, starts at 836,000 yuan after import duties. We'll see over the next months how this is selling and whether or not Tesla tries to compete on price. The new NIO ES8 is a seven-seater, high-performance electric SUV which is available with both front and rear motors.

Featuring an all-aluminum chassis, the vehicle boasts a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles) on a single charge and able to accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.4 seconds.

Nio is planning to build more than 1,100 charging stations its calls Power Swap, and deploy more than 1,200 of its Power Mobile units by 2020. As a result, the country has emerged as the world's biggest electric vehicle market, surpassing the United States. A battery-swap station can be assembled within a day, according to Li. Owners of the ES8 can charge their auto by swapping batteries at power-swap stations in three minutes or recharge with the help of "Power Mobile" service vehicles that travel to motorists.

Chinese electric vehicle maker launches NIO
Chinese electric vehicle maker launches NIO

Drivers can also charge the battery from a unique service vehicle that travels to you.

The state-supported push of the China EV market along with its technology has enticed worldwide auto giants such as Volkswagen and BMW to join in along with tech giants from China - Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. Sales in China of new-energy vehicles surged 51.2% between January and November 2017.

Set up about three years ago, NIO is among the youngest companies to join the global EV (electric vehicle) melee as regulators worldwide crack down on emissions and countries, including China, consider phasing out automobiles powered by gasoline and diesel.

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Founded in 2014 and formerly known as NextEV, Nio is in fact backed by investment holding conglomerate Tencent.

"I doubt Tesla will offer similar services in China", said Li.

Formerly known as NextEV, the Tencent-backed NIO is one of many Chinese EV startups incentivized by the Chinese government to create more momentum in the local EV market, which is already the largest in the world, having overtaken the United States previous year.

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"The plan of entering capital markets is just a necessary process during the development of the company". However, Li said there is no specific deadline for an IPO, rather it will "depend of the development of the company".

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