NIO, a maker of electric vehicles in China, is taking its first steps into Europe with a sales center in Norway.
However, NIO’s ambitions go further than just selling cars - the Chinese start up says it will establish a full-fledged ecosystem that encompasses cars, services, digital experiences, and the NIO lifestyle.
This approach has already served the fledgling company - which was only founded in 2014 - extremely well in its native country where it appeals to China’s growing middle class. The ecosystem includes the NIO house, which features public meeting areas, shared workrooms and cafes. The first such opens in Oslo, 2022.
One of the key differentiators of NIO’s market approach is the provision of battery swap stations, where depleted batteries can be swapped for a fully charged one within three minutes: in May 2020 the company hit the milestone of 1m battery swaps.
While such stations will be parto of NIO’s approach to Norway, the OEM says it will also build a network of fast chargers.
NIO adds that its approach will be premium with the provision of mobile service and car pickup-and-delivery services and that the car maker’s launch in Norway was the precursor to opening up sales in five further European countries.
Norway has enjoyed high electric vehicle growth thanks to a variety of taxation and driver inducement to encourage take up of zero emission motoring. In 2020 battery electric vehicles took 54% of the Norwegian car market, a record.
On choosing Norway first outside China, William Li - the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of NIO - says that Norway “is a sustainable and innovative country and resonates with our vision".
First vehicles to launch there will be the NIO ES8 flagship SUV and the company’s flagship ET7 sedan.