Tesla Challenger NIO Gains Approval to Sell its Electric ES8 SUV in Europe, its First Overseas Market

Tesla Challenger NIO Gains Approval to Sell its Electric ES8 SUV in Europe, its First Overseas Market

Author: Eric Walz   

Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO Inc. announced it received approval to sell its fully-electric ES8 SUV in Europe, paving the way for expansion for the first time outside of China.

On June 11, NIO announced that it received European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA) for its ES8, its flagship SUV. The EWVTA certification marks first steps for NIO's entry into Norway and the European market at large. With its EWVTA certification, the NIO ES8 is officially approved for mass production and license plate registration in all EU countries, the company said. 

NIO, which is often referred to as the "Tesla of China", began deliveries of the battery-powered ES8 in June 2018, but has never sold the SUV outside of the country.

NIO followed up the ES8 with the smaller ES6 SUV in 2019. The ES6 was first unveiled in Dec 2018 at the company's "NIO Day" event in China and went on sale six months later.

Norway has the highest EV adoption rate in the world, with approximately 75% of all new cars being fully-electric or hybrid vehicles, so its an important market for electric vehicle manufacturers looking to expand into Europe, including for Tesla. 

NIO's domestic competitor XPeng was also granted approval to expand to Norway and is now selling its electric G3 SUV in the country as of Sept 2020. Norway was also Tesla's biggest European market in 2019.

The type approval certification was issued to the NIO ES8 and its systems, components, and separate technical units after corresponding engineering audits and module approvals were made under the new regulation (EU) 2018/858. 

Regulation 2018/858 was effective as of Sept 1, 2020. It has become the new statutory regulation for vehicle approval for sale in the EU. The regulation improves the independence of quality and vehicle testing of cars already in the local market.

NIO announced its entry into Norway on May 6. The company will deliver the first ES8 to customers in Norway in September. 

NIO is also expanding its other customer services to Norway. In addition to establishing a sales and service network, NIO will open its NIO House community centers, NIO Power battery swap stations, NIO Life retail stores and its NIO vehicle app for European users, the company said.

NIO is one of China's promising New Energy Vehicle (NEV) startups, along with rivals Xpeng and Li Auto. All three companies are publicly traded in the U.S. NIO raised $1 billion when it launched its U.S. IPO on Sept 12, 2018. Its shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NIO."

The company's stock was traded nearly 7% higher on Friday afternoon at $45.66.

NIO is based in Shanghai with its U.S. headquarters and software development center based in Silicon Valley. The company is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings. 

The company is also recognized for its EP9, a 1,342 horsepower high-performance electric supercar. In October 2016, the NIO EP9 set a record at Germany's famed Nürburgring Nordschliefe and was crowned as the fastest electric car in the world at the time. 

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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