Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Nio has confirmed that it is to begin sales in Europe later this year.
Its first European sales will be focused on Norway, where incentives to buy zero-emission vehicles are high and electric vehicle uptake is some of the best in the world.
The first model to go on sale in Europe will be the firm’s flagship SUV called ES8, which promises a range of 311 miles. Deliveries are expected to begin in September with orders opening in July, and this will be followed by the ET7 saloon in 2022.
What’s particularly interesting about Nio is the fact that it offers a battery swap service as an alternative to charging. While the battery can be topped up at a charge point like a regular EV, owners can stop at a Power Swap centre and have their battery replaced with a fully charged one in just three minutes.
The firm says it will build four such facilities in Norway before the end of 2021, with more added next year. It will also build its own fast charging public network and offer home chargers too.
Marius Hayler, managing director of Nio Norway, said: “A new chapter in electric mobility is beginning in Norway. Just as the smartphone has replaced the mobile phone, smart EVs will now redefine the customer experience.”
Nio’s CEO William Li added: “In Europe, Norway is at the forefront of e-mobility and sustainable growth. When combined with the country’s strong sense of community and high purchasing power, it is an extremely attractive market for NIO in Europe. There Is no doubt that Norway and NIO are a perfect fit.”
Speaking to the Autocar magazine earlier this year about whether the company would come to the UK, Nio’s European vice president Hui Zhang said this is an ‘important’ market. However, he added that while it is “slowly waking up to the appeal of EVs and growth is dramatic in a market that collapsed due to Covid… in 2020, pure EVs were still just 6.6 per cent of sales, just over 100,000 vehicles”.