China's Rising EV startup NIO Reports a Record Number of November Deliveries
While electric automaker Tesla receives most of the headlines in the U.S., in China a new crop of electric vehicle startups is emerging as strong Tesla competitors in the world's biggest auto market. Among them are Nio Inc and Xpeng Motors, both of which offer advanced electric cars for about half the price of a Tesla model in China.
On Tuesday, NIO reported it delivered 5,291 vehicles during the month of November, its highest monthly sales ever. The record number of deliveries represents a 109.3% year-over-year growth.
Nio delivered 1,387 of its flagship ES8s SUVs, 2,386 units of the smaller ES6 SUV, the and 1,518 EC6s, which is Nio's 5-passenger premium electric coupe/SUV.
In total, Nio delivered 36,721 vehicles through Nov 30 of this year, representing an increase of 111.1% year-over-year. Cumulative deliveries reached 68,634 vehicles. Nio said it's in the process of accelerating its production capacity this month to accommodate the growing demand for its electric vehicles.
Unveiled in 2017, NIO's flagship 7-passenger ES8 was the company's first electric vehicle.
Earlier last month, Nio announced a new more powerful battery pack for its EVs that offers more power and a longer range. The new 100kWh battery pack has a NEDC range of 615 km (382 miles) and its available as an option on Nio vehicles. Pre-orders for the new 100kWh battery began on Nov 7.
Prior to the new 100 kWh battery option, Nio customers could choose between a 70 or 84-kWh battery. Nio's new 100kWh battery pack also features "cell-to-pack" (CTP) technology and was jointly developed with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL).
Prior to the introduction of the 100kWh battery option, Nio launched a Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) monthly subscription plan in August. The service allows a Nio owner to pay a monthly fee for the battery that's separate from the vehicle purchase. The BaaS plan is designed to lower the purchase price so its vehicles are more affordable.
A customer who buys a Nio vehicle powered by the bigger 100kWh battery can deduct 128,000 yuan ($19,105) off the sticker price and pay a monthly subscription of 1,480 yuan ($223) per month for the battery.
Nio's electric vehicles are uniquely designed, as the vehicle batteries are designed to be removed in minutes at one of the company's "battery swapping stations" that are popping up in cities throughout China.
Rather than plugging in and waiting to fully charge, the battery pack in a Nio vehicle can be easily removed and replaced with a fully-charged battery at one of the company's battery swapping stations. The automated process takes as little as 3 minutes.
Nio said it opened 158 battery swap stations in China and more are being built. To date, the company said it performed over 1.1 million battery swap services for owners.
The NIO ES6 electric SUV was unveiled in 2018.
Nio is one of China's rising EV startups and is often referred to as the "Tesla of China" along with its rival Xpeng Motors. The company was founded in 2014 Chinese entrepreneur William Bin Li, who serves as the company's CEO. In November, Forbes estimated Li's net worth to be US$8.1 billion.
Deliveries of Nio's first electric vehicle, the flagship ES8 SUV began in June 2018. The company followed that up with the smaller ES6 which was unveiled in Dec 2018. The ES6 shares the same EV architecture and underpinnings as Nio's larger ES8 SUV. However the ES6 intended to be more of a mass-market EV much like the Tesla Model 3 sedan.
Nio is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and is publicly traded company in the U.S. Nio made headlines when it became the first Chinese electric automaker to go public in the U.S. in 2018, which raised $1 billion for the startup. Shares of Nio began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "Nio" on Sept 11, 2018.
Tesla's recent stock market climb to become the world's most valuable automaker has also helped Nio's stock price to jump from $4.13 a share at the end of February to $50.67 on Monday, as investors continue to pour money into EV startups and related stocks.
Nio's market cap now exceeds $60 billion, making the company almost as valuable as U.S. automaker General Motors.
Nio's first electric vehicle was the limited production 1,360 horsepower EP9 electric supercar, which earned the title of the world's fastest battery-powered car at Germany's famed Nürburgring Nordschleife in 2017.
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