Chinese EV manufacturer Nio has accelerated plans to break into the European market, launching three models in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden as it builds its network of battery-swapping stations.
The launch comes as an unconventional move by the company to allow customers to lease rather than purchase vehicles (unlike those it sells directly in Norway) through its latest service called “NIO Subscription”. Moreover, in lieu of charging their cars at home, Nio customers can drive to a battery swapping station to get a new power pack installed within minutes.
“We will not be selling cars,” said CEO William Li in an interview at the company’s new ‘Nio House’ showroom in central Berlin. “Flexibility is the new premium.”
“The advantage of our business separating the car from the battery is that we may reach economies of scale for the batteries faster than the cars,” said Li. “When we reach 10 gigawatt hours, we will consider localising production.”
According to Reuters, Nio’s revenue grew 22% in the second quarter from 2021 while its net loss more than quadrupled to the equivalent of $410 million. Looking forward, the EV carmaker plans to install 120 battery swapping stations in Europe by 2023 (compared to China’s 900+) and expand its presence to over 25 countries and regions worldwide by 2025.
Overall, despite facing economic slowdown, Nio’s venture demonstrates that the Chinese EV brand is by no means ready to hit the brakes on European expansion. Now more thane ever, the Chinese EV company is betting on consumers’ rising demand and government incentives to help buoy operations in Europe.