Growing Chinese premium EV brand Nio will make its UK debut late next year, company founder and CEO William Li said at Nio’s launch in Germany on Friday.
The brand will launch with its mid-sized Nio ET5 saloon, a rival to the Tesla Model 3, and other models more suited in size to the UK market, Li said. “I think smaller cars like the ET5 and another scheduled for production,” Li told Autocar, without naming the additional model.
Nio will also introduce battery swap stations in the UK to allow owners to change their batteries in around five minutes, giving the brand a useful selling point if it can install a decent-sized network.
The brand has identified a site in London for its signature Nio House plus-sized showroom, which will act as both a showcase for its models and a general hang-out space, following the patten of Nio Houses in China, Norway and Germany.
Nio is currently hiring staff for its UK launch, including a brand manager and a sales manager. The overall UK general manager was hired “three days ago”, Li said. No name has been released.
Cars will be exclusively leased, either for a fixed period or via a more flexible subscription model that will enable customers to hand back their vehicles with as little as a month’s notice. The subscription model has proven successful for Chinese brand Lynk&Co, owned by Geely, in establishing itself in select mainstream European markets.
Nio launched its brand globally in 2016 at an event in London but it restricted sales initially to China. The brand’s move to Europe last year started in Norway, where it also built the first battery swap station. Friday’s launch in Berlin marks the brand’s expansion not just in Germany but also Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Deliveries of the ET7 large saloon car will begin in October in Germany, with the EL7 large SUV and ET5 following in March. No prices have been disclosed yet.