Chinese electric-car maker Nio is pitting itself further against market leader Tesla, unveiling its first sedan in direct competition with the US firm’s most popular model and other international rivals.
The all-electric sedan ET7, launched by Nio founder and Chief Executive Officer William Li at a company event in Chengdu on Saturday evening, will start at 448,000 yuan ($69,193) before government subsidies. That compares with 265,740 yuan for an entry-level Tesla Model 3, built in China. Deliveries will start from the first quarter of 2022.
Nio also launched a bigger volume battery pack that can improve driving range, an upgraded autopilot system and the second iteration of its battery-swap station, a concept whereby people can change the battery in their vehicle rather than re-charge it. Nio targets reaching 500 power swap stations by the end of 2021.
Nio is coming off a stellar 2020. In the early months of last year, the automaker looked to be running out of cash having spent heavily on marketing and splashy showrooms for its ES8 and ES6 electric SUVs. But in April, it received a $1 billion investment from entities led by the municipal government of Hefei and in July, a $1.5 billion credit line from Chinese banks.