Formally, the Chinese NIO brand is already offering its electric vehicles on the European continent, through official channels to Norway, but further expansion in the region will be linked not to the sale of cars but to the leasing of them, while consideration is being given to localizing the production of traction batteries in Europe.
In an interview with Reuters, the Director-General of the NIO, William Lee, explained this. The Chinese company is now preparing to take its electric vehicles to the markets of Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, but it will not sell them to customers, but it will do subscriptions and leasing. The monthly payment for the electric car with a traction battery capacity of 75 kWh will vary from Euro199 to Euro 1,295. The minimum duration of the contract will be one month, so clients will actually be able to conduct a long test drive to see if they need an electric car on a permanent basis.
In the new European markets, NIO will offer three models of electric vehicles: ET7, ET5 and EL7 crossover, which in China has an ES7 symbol, but in Europe the symbol is reserved for Audi. Starting in 2018, the NIO has been able to implement just under 250,000 electric vehicles in China and Norway. Previously, the NIO has already offered to lize traction batteries to its electric vehicles, in which case only the vehicle remained in the buyer ' s possession, and the battery could be changed regularly to specially charged stations. By the end of next year, at least 120 of these stations will be installed in Europe. The client will not even need to come out of the battery replacement machine, the automatic will do it herself in a few minutes, and the journey will continue with the battery already loaded.
In the past month, NIO has established battery replacement stations in Hungary. If the amount of electric vehicles sold in Europe exceeds 10 GWh in battery equivalent capacity, the NIO will also think about the localization of the batteries themselves in Europe. It is now supplied with batteries by the Chinese market leader, CATL, but the NIO has a team of 700 specialists responsible for organizing the production of batteries in-house. Next year, the company can announce cooperation with new partners in this field. According to the NIO chapter, all major electric vehicle manufacturers will eventually start to produce traction batteries on their own.
In Norway and China, the company will continue to sell electric vehicles for ownership, as in the former case this is more tax-friendly for customers, while in the latter there are still restrictions on the number of licence plates issued by local authorities to register vehicles.