Tesla vs NIO: Which Electric Vehicle Rules?

Tesla vs NIO

Tesla vs NIO: Which Electric Vehicle Rules?

Key Points

  • Nikola Tesla was the inspiration for the popular automaker.
  • The Chinese name for NIO is Weilai, which means Blue Sky Coming.
  • Tesla had five founders. The company was originally founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning and was later improved through the support of Ian Wright, JB Straubel, and Elon Musk, who are also considered founders.
  • The NIO ES8 set a world record for the highest altitude reached by an electric vehicle in 2018. Driver Chen Haiyi successfully ascended the Purog Kangri glacier in Tibet.

Tesla, Inc. and NIO are two leading electric vehicle (EV) automakers with innovative dreams for the future. From autonomous cars to clean energy, both share a surprising number of goals but are pursuing them with key differences. How does the American electric vehicle behemoth compare with the rising star in China? Check out the similarities, differences, pros, and cons with this head-to-head guide.

Tesla vs. NIO: Side-by-Side Comparison

Tesla, Inc.NIO
What It Is:World’s bestselling electric vehicle automaker focusing on luxury cars, self-driving cars, alternative energy, and an iconic cultureInnovative Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer focusing on autonomous driving, innovative battery technology, and Battery as a Service (BaaS) solutions
Company Founder(s):Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, Ian Wright, JB Straubel, and Elon MuskWilliam Bin Li, Lihong Qin, Hsein Tong Cheng
CEO:Elon MuskWilliam Bin Li
Electric Vehicles Sold in 2021:930,42291,429
Number of Employees:Over 99,0007,763
Headquarters:Austin, TX (Formerly Palo Alto, CA)Shanghai, China
Electric Vehicle Lineup:Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Roadster, and CybertruckES6, ES8, EC6, ET5, ET7, and EP9

Tesla vs NIO: Comparing Companies

Tesla, Inc. is a revolutionary leader in the electric vehicle (EV) industry. Founded in 2004 as Tesla Motors, the company launched the Roadster in 2008 to change the way the world thought of EVs. Stylish, luxurious, and capable of high-speed performance, the Roadster led the way to the production of Models S, 3, X, and Y, with the upcoming release date of the Cybertruck expected in 2023.

Key technologies that Tesla is famous for are luxury EVs, lithium-ion home energy storage systems, and solar panels. It’s also committed to a personalized customer experience. Elon Musk gives the company its flair and sense of culture.

NIO is led by Bin Li, also known as William Li, who is called the “Elon Musk of China.” He has a personal net worth of $7.11 billion, which is considerably less than Elon Musk’s net worth of $206.2 billion. The company’s mission is to create what it calls a “joyful lifestyle.” NIO also specializes in a stylish culture, luxury vehicle production, and sustainable energy.

Since the ES8, released in 2018, NIO has been developing and delivering EVs to China and other countries like Norway. The company has announced plans to launch in North America, though no vehicles have been released in this market yet.

Both companies are committed to creating self-driving vehicles, expanding the use of sustainable energy, and creating global opportunities for plug-in electric vehicles. Despite their shared goals, the companies are working independently to create their network of superchargers and Battery as a Service (BaaS) solutions, as well as their own autonomous driving experience. Compare the pros and cons of the leading models from both automakers to see if the “Elon Musk of China” can compete with the real Elon Musk.

Tesla Model Y vs. NIO ES6

The NIO ES6 takes just under five seconds to reach around 60 MPH.

The Model Y is the crossover SUV Tesla with a mid-range car price. It has the same sleek, minimalist style as other Tesla vehicles and has room for seven, thanks to the optional third-row seat. Like all Tesla vehicles, it exceeded the NHTSA safety standards and received five stars in every category. Compare the pros and cons of the Model Y by reviewing these features:

  • From $62,990
  • 76 cubic feet of cargo space
  • All-wheel-drive design with dual-motor technology
  • An expected range of 330 miles
  • Autopilot safety and driver-assist features
  • Reaches 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds
  • 15-inch touchscreen
  • All-glass roof

Designed with care and packed full of luxury features, the NIO ES6 is designed to go head to head with the Tesla Model Y. It was announced in 2018 for a release date in 2019. While this midsize SUV only has five seats, it also offers the following features:

  • From $55,000
  • Top speed of 124 miles per hour
  • Range of 380 miles
  • Reaches speeds of about 62 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds
  • NOMI Mate 2.0 cloud computing and voice interaction technology
  • NIO Pilot driver assistance and safety features

Both SUVs offer similarities in terms of luxury interiors, powerful electric motors, and respectable ranges. The ES6 pulls ahead of the Model Y in terms of range but lags in acceleration and overall performance. While the ES6 isn’t currently available in the United States, its MSRP makes it a more affordable alternative.

Tesla Model 3 vs. NIO EC6

toyota bZ3 vs Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 is designed for electric-powered performance, with quick acceleration, long range and fast charging


Compare the most affordable Tesla, the Model 3, with the NIO EC6 to find out how the Tesla compact car competes with the NIO coupe. Both offer comfortable interiors, quality driving performance, and convenient driver assistance features. Here are some highlights from the Model 3, which had a release date in 2017:

  • From $46,990
  • Five-star safety rating in every category
  • Estimated range of 358 miles per charge
  • All-wheel-drive capability thanks to the dual-motor design
  • Autopilot safety and driver assistance features
  • 15-inch touchscreen display
  • All-glass roof
  • Reaches 60 miles per hour in just 3.1 seconds

The EC6 offers similar features to compete in the luxury EV market in China and beyond. The EV car price is slightly higher than the Model 3, but it offers a longer range and other benefits. Check out these capabilities and performances specs to see the similarities and differences between these EVs:

  • From $54,000
  • All-wheel-drive capability with two motors
  • Reaches speeds of around 62 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds
  • All-glass panoramic moonroof
  • NIO Pilot driver assistance
  • Expected charge range of around 382 miles

In this side-by-side comparison, Tesla’s offering comes in at a more affordable rate. The additional charge range of the NIO EC6 gives it an advantage, but the acceleration rate falls behind the rate of the Model 3. Both are popular models in their respective luxury EV markets.

Tesla Roadster vs. NIO EP9

It takes less than two seconds for the Tesla Roadster to reach 60 MPH.

Next is the head-to-head matchup of two of the fastest EV cars in the world. The Tesla Roadster boasts a top speed of more than 250 miles per hour and can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 1.9 seconds. Here are some other notable features of this sleek EV:

  • From $200,000
  • Range up to 620 miles
  • Removable glass roof
  • Four seats
  • Reaches 100 miles per hour in about 4.2 seconds

While Tesla is known for luxury vehicles, the NIO hypercar is determined to break records. In 2017, the EP9 set the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record at 6:45.900. Review the other performance specs of one of the world’s most expensive EVs:

  • From $1.48 million
  • Top speeds of approximately 194 miles per hour
  • Can accelerate from zero to about 62 miles per hour in 2.7 seconds
  • Reaches speeds around 124 miles per hour in 7.1 seconds
  • One MegaWatt of peak power
  • Four inboard motor-generating units
  • Carbon fiber chassis
  • Capable of 3G experiences

The EP9 is difficult to compare head-to-head with the Roadster due to the extreme price difference. While the Roadster may have better top speeds and acceleration, the EP9 hit impressive track times at the Nürburgring Nordschleife and Circuit of the Americas.

Tesla vs NIO: Which Is Better?

Tesla and NIO are both highly rated EV automaker companies with increasing production. NIO EVs aren’t currently available in the United States, but both companies offer respectable lineups of cars, SUVs, and sports cars. Tesla remains the leader in market cap, net worth, and EV sales globally. NIO, however, is growing rapidly and promises to be a key competitor in the future of electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and sustainable energy.

Tesla and NIO in the News

Both NIO and Tesla have been making waves in the EV community. In 2023, NIO announced it had delivered 37,699 new cars in the first four months of the year, which is a reported 22.2% increase from the year before. NIO will also unveil the ET6 in 2023, a new flagship electric SUV at the Shanghai Auto Show in China.

Tesla announced that the long awaited Cybertruck is expected to be released later in 2023, with various prototypes still undergoing rigorous testing.

Tesla vs NIO infographics

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Tesla and NIO known for?

NIO is known for designing and developing smart electric vehicles using next-gen technologies. This includes autonomous driving, electric powertrains, digital technologies, batteries, etc.

Founded in 2003, Tesla is known as an American electrified automobile manufacturer. Tesla also manufactures scalable clean energy storage and generation products, including solar panels and batteries for home and car power storage.

Who’s more successful, Tesla or NIO?

Both companies are exponentially growing their production and sales in China. However, considering that NIO is relatively newer in the industry, it is safe to say that Tesla is the more successful brand among the duo.

Is Tesla bigger than NIO?

This is no comparison: Tesla is bigger than NIO. While the latter only delivered 481 ES8 cars in the second quarter of 2021, since they started shipping in June, Tesla has delivered over 300,00 units during the same period.

Which is better, Tesla or NIO?

Tesla remains the current market leader in the production of electric vehicles.

How long do Tesla cars last?

An average Tesla car can last for 10 years. Their batteries are designed to last between 300,000 to 500,000 miles.

What are the weaknesses of Tesla?

The weaknesses of Tesla Inc. include manufacturing complications, shortage of batteries, leadership scandals, etc.

Which is faster, Tesla or NIO?

Roadster 2020 by Tesla is the fastest electric car in the world, reaching up to 60 mph in 1.9seconds.

Who is Tesla’s biggest competitor in China?

NIO and Tesla are giants in the Chinese EV market – it suffices to say they are their greatest competitors.

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