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

Berlin – Chinese electric vehicle maker New I will just rent Its CEO said that when its cars are launched in four European markets this year Reutersbetting that flexibility will be a major selling point as drivers turn to the new technology.

Users will be able to rent a car with a capacity of 75 kWh the battery For 1,199-1,295 EUR (1,171 – 1,264 USD) per month depending on the length of the subscription, which can be up to a month.

The plan is the latest unconventional move by the company, which already allows customers to rent the battery rather than buy it – the most expensive part of an electric vehicle (EV).

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

Now, as it prepares to launch in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, Nio plans to run its business there on a corporate lease and subscription model, offering all three models available in China – ET7, ET5 and EL7, with the latter being renamed in Europe from its Chinese name ES7 due to a trademark dispute with Volkswagen Audi.

“We will not be car saleCEO William Lee said in an interview at the company’s new ‘Nio House’ showroom in central Berlin, the first of nine new club-style locations to open for Nio fans in Europe this year.

“Flexibility is the new premium.”

Nio has sold just under 250,000 cars in China and Norway since production began in 2018. Prices range from 50,000 to 70,000 euros ($49,000-$69,000), depending on the vehicle’s range and whether customers buy or rent the battery .

So far I’ve operated on demand, creating custom products for customers and keeping inventory low.

Li said Nio will stick to direct sales in existing markets in part because of less attractive taxes on subscription models in Norway and restrictions on license plates in China.

Battery replacement

Nio faces competition in China from a growing number of electric vehicle startups Xpeng To Hozon and Leapmotor as well as major manufacturers such as BYD and Tesla.

In Europe, it will chase Tesla and Volkswagen at the top of electric car sales.

The plan is to have at least 120 battery swap stations installed in Europe by the end of next year, Lee said, adding that it is not so much about financial investment as it is about time and bureaucracy to get it done.

Li said the company opened its first interchange plant manufacturing plant in Hungary last month, and will consider battery production in the region once battery sales in Europe reach the equivalent of about 10 gigawatt-hours.

“The advantage of our work on separating the car from the battery is that we may achieve economies of scale for batteries faster than cars,” Lee said. “When we get to 10 gigawatt-hours, we’ll look at localizing production.”

In China, where this goal has already been achieved, a team of about 700 people is working on battery production in-house, enabling the company to control its own battery supply.

In the meantime, Nio is looking for other partners outside of its current resource, CATLLee said, adding that it aims to secure new partnerships next year.

“In the long term, we believe any major automaker will soon produce internal batteries,” Lee said.

Nio’s revenue grew 22% in the second quarter of last year while its net loss more than quadrupled to the equivalent of $410 million.

It delivered just under 32,000 vehicles in September, an increase of 29.3% year over year. Li said supply chain problems in China due to the COVID-19 shutdown in August eased faster than expected.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldrusy; Editing by Rachel Moore and Mark Potter)

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