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Nio aims to bring blue skies by growing EV market

Candace Li
Candace Li6/1/2022 09:11 PM GMT+08  • 7 min read
Nio aims to bring blue skies by growing EV market
Nio aims to offer its products and services in more than 25 countries and regions by 2025 / Photo: Nio
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1. Can you share more about Nio and its mission?

Our mission is to shape a joyful lifestyle for our customers. We aim to build a community starting with smart electric vehicles (EVs). Our Chinese name, “weilai” (蔚来), means “blue sky coming”, reflecting our commitment to a more environmentally friendly future.

2. Why did Nio list on SGX?

The listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) is of great importance to Nio’s capital markets strategy. Singapore is a dynamic financial hub with strategic significance in the global capital markets, hence we believe that the listing in Singapore has further strengthened our footing.

The listing will help the company expand our investor base, particularly among the growing base of Asia Pacific investors. The listing on SGX will also allow round-the-clock trading of Nio shares and provide incremental liquidity.

3. What are some existing and upcoming EV models by Nio?

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We introduced the EP9 supercar in 2016, which was then the fastest EV in the market, setting the Nurburgring Nordschleife all-electric vehicle lap record. In December 2017, we launched the ES8, a six- or seven-seater flagship smart electric SUV. We then launched the award-winning ES6, a mid-size smart electric SUV, in December 2018; the EC6, a mid-size smart electric coupe SUV, in December 2019; followed by the ET7, a flagship smart electric sedan, in January 2021.

In December 2021, we launched the ET5, a mid-size smart electric sedan. We plan to launch the ES7, a mid-large size five-seater smart electric SUV, in 2022.

We will continue to launch new models in upcoming years to broaden our customer base and diversify our product portfolio. We intend to accelerate our product iteration to meet the latest consumer demands and to continue to drive innovation.

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4. How have the vehicles performed in terms of sales and deliveries?

Our vehicles have been well received by consumers. In 2021, the Nio ES6, EC6 and ES8 were respectively the top, second and fourth best-selling premium battery electric SUVs as measured by sales volume in China. As of May 25, we have delivered more than 200,000 vehicles in total.

5. Can you share more about the battery swapping technology by Nio?

Supported by over 1,200 patented technologies, all of our vehicles support battery swapping. This provides a convenient recharging experience by simply swapping the user’s battery for another one, which can be done within minutes. In addition, it provides users with upgrade options and enables users to enjoy the benefits of battery technology advancements.

As of today, we have deployed more than 900 Power Swap stations covering urban areas and expressways in China, through which we have completed nearly 9 million battery swaps cumulatively.

Enabled by vehicle-battery separation and battery subscription, we launched the innovative Battery as a Service (BaaS) subscription model in 2020. BaaS users enjoy a lower upfront purchase price and flexible subscription options for batteries of various capacities according to their needs.

With the battery swapping technology and innovative BaaS model, we provide our users with a “chargeable, swappable, upgradable” experience.

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6. Can you share about the Nio Autonomous Driving (NAD) technology as well as the features and platform?

We believe that autonomous driving is the core of smart EVs and it has been our focus from day one. In January 2021, we announced Nio Autonomous Driving, or NAD, our next generation, proprietary full-stack autonomous driving technology. We have built up the NAD capability with in-house perception algorithms, localisation, control strategy and platform software.

The technology comprises a super computing platform called Nio Adam and a super sensing system called Nio Aquila. Nio Adam’s core is made up of four Nvidia Orin System-on-Chips (SoCs), while Nio Aquila features 33 high-performance sensing units, including 11 high-resolution cameras, one ultra-long-range high-resolution LiDAR, five millimeter-wave radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors.

NAD is expected to gradually cover use cases from expressways, urban roads, parking, battery swapping to other domains to deliver a safer and more relaxing autonomous driving experience for our users. We plan to gradually roll out NAD for subscription under AD as a Service (ADaaS) in the future.

7. What are some of Nio’s expansion plans and strategy outside of its domestic market?

We opened Nio House and started the deliveries of Nio ES8 in Norway in September 2021. The ES8 has received positive reviews on its performance and product experience from the local users and media. In 1Q2022, monthly deliveries of ES8 ranked top two among the six- to seven-seater passenger cars in Norway.

We will further step up our efforts to enter more global markets. In 2022, we plan to enter four new European markets — Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden. By 2025, we aim to offer our products and services in more than 25 countries and regions.

We believe that our products, services and innovative business model will not only be well received in China, but also present unique value and strengths in the global markets. With local consumers’ preferences in mind, we plan to leverage the expertise we have developed from our operations in China to replicate our success internationally.

8. What are your plans for Nio in Singapore?

By leveraging Singapore’s advantageous position as an international innovations and technology centre, Nio plans to establish a R&D centre for artificial intelligence and autonomous driving in Singapore and collaborate with the local science and research institutions to further broaden and enhance its global R&D footprint.

9. What are some of Nio’s plans to build production capacity over the next few years?

In order to meet the rapidly growing demand for our vehicles and to support the manufacturing of our future models, we have started the upgrading and capacity expansion of the JAC-Nio Advanced Manufacturing Centre with our partner since 2021. The annual vehicle and component production capacity is expected to reach 240,000 units (calculated based on 4,000 working hours per year) in 2022.

In addition, we are building a new manufacturing plant at NeoPark in Hefei, China, together with our partners. The designed annual production capacity of the new plant is up to 300,000 units (calculated based on 5,000 working hours per year). The new plant expects to start volume production in September 2022.

10. How is Nio committed to sustainability and ESG?

With our aspiration for “blue skies”, Nio aims to build a user enterprise and shape a joyful lifestyle for our users. We are fully committed to being a force for good for the environment and society. The mindset of sustainability is instilled in our daily operations and corporate governance.

Throughout our vehicles’ product lifecycle, we have implemented concrete processes and measures to ensure product safety, quality, sustainability and recyclability to provide deep reassurance to our users and reduce our lifecycle carbon footprint. For example, sustainable materials are used in our ET7 and ET5 models, and we have been recycling the scrap materials during the manufacturing process for our Nio Life products.

While creating a safe, equitable, caring and inspiring working environment for our employees, we have established various corporate social responsibility initiatives to give back to the communities and create value for the society. In 2022, we joined hands with WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Polar Hub for Clean Parks, an ecosystem co-construction initiative launched by Nio, and expect to work with more partners in the future to build a more sustainable environment.

To advance our ESG and sustainability initiatives, we have established a cross-functional sustainability task force led by our management team to engage external and internal stakeholders to comprehensively protect the environment, improve our corporate governance and benefit the society.

Candace Li is a research analyst with the Singapore Exchange

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