Chinese EV startup Nio is entering the international market - and plans to start deliveries in Norway in September

·3 min read
Nio
Nio CEO William Li, stood next to a Nio car. STR/AFP via Getty Images
  • Nio said it plans to start deliveries of its electric vehicles in Norway in September.

  • This would be the Chinese company's first international market.

  • It said the first vehicle on offer in Norway would be the Nio ES8, a seven-seater smart SUV.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Electric-vehicle startup Nio announced plans to launch sales in Norway later this year, marking its first entry into a market outside of China.

It said it would start by selling the Nio ES8, its flagship seven-seater smart electric SUV, with pre-orders available from July 2021. It said the first deliveries are expected in September 2021.

After this, it will launch sales of its smart sedan ET7 will follow in 2022, the company said.

The global EV market is dominated by Tesla but auto-manufacturing expert Sandy Munro said Chinese firms, like Nio, posed the biggest threat to Elon Musk's brand.

Read more: Investing legend Rob Arnott believes Tesla is 'extravagantly overpriced.' He explains why he thinks the entire electric-vehicle market is deluded - and which companies are positioned for success.

Nio, which was founded in 2014, said it plans to bring its entire product and service portfolio to Europe.

This includes its Power Swap technology, which enables vehicle batteries to be automatically replaced within three minutes. It said the first four stations in Norway are scheduled to go into operation before the end of 2021.

Nio also said it would build its own supercharger network in Norway.

The company said in 2021 it would set up a Nio service and delivery center is Oslo, as well as service networks in four other cities, followed by a wider roll-out in 2022. These would offer services including repair and maintenance work. The company expects to have around 50 employees in Norway by the end of the year.

Nio said it would open a showroom, known as "Nio House," in Oslo in the summer, which will also have restaurants, a children's playground, and conference rooms for customers. It plans to open up four further showrooms in 2022, it said.

Nio CEO William Li said Norway is "at the forefront of e-mobility and sustainable growth," making it "an extremely attractive market" for the startup. The Scandinavian country has the world's largest electric vehicle market. It sells more electric than gas-powered vehicles, Marius Hayler, managing director at NIO Norway, said.

"There is no doubt that Norway and Nio are a perfect fit," Li added.

Nio's sales are surging amid high demand for electric vehicles in China, the world's largest car market - thanks in part to generous government subsidies.

Nio delivered 20,060 vehicles in the first quarter, representing a new quarterly record and year-over-year growth of 423%, Insider's Matthew Fox reported.

But it faces competition from other Chinese startups, as well as Tesla, which has also seen rapid growth in the country.

XPeng said its sales doubled in 2020 compared with 2019, while Li Auto sold 32,624 cars in 2020, its first full year of trading. And China accounts for more than a fifth of Tesla's total revenue.

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