When you think of electric vehicles, what comes to mind first? If your answer is Tesla, that’s likely due to the company’s surge in popularity over the last few years. However, the continued growth of the electric vehicle market has led to the rise of several smaller brands apart from the better-known industry “giants.” One such brand is NIO.

Seeking to take over the EV market, NIO is a Chinese company with a charismatic president who’s championing its journey to becoming the largest electric vehicle manufacturer. With Tesla arguably being the leading name in the EV industry, the big question becomes: how does NIO compare to Tesla? We’re answering that question and more.

Tesla vs NIO: Side by Side Comparison

What is It?Tesla is an American company established in 2003. The automaker company focuses on making electric vehicles that are faster, better, and offer the most exciting driving experience. Apart from EVs, Tesla also manufacturers renewable energy production and storage systems.NIO is a Chinese automobile company specializing in designing and manufacturing electric vehicles. The company is headquartered in Shanghai and primarily serves the Chinese market.
Full NameTesla, Inc.NIO Inc.
Year of EstablishmentJuly 1, 2003November 2014
Influential FoundersElon Musk, JB Straubel, Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, and Ian Wright.William Li, Lihong Qin, and Hsien Tong Cheng.
SubsidiariesMaxwell Technologies, Tesla Energy, Gambit Energy Storage, LLC, Tesla Grohmann Automation, etc.NIO NextEV Limited, NIO (Anhui) Holding Ltd., Beijing NIO Network Technology Co., Ltd, Shanghai XPT Technology Limited, etc.
Price CompetitivenessTesla is working to ensure its models are as maximally accessible and affordable as possibleAlthough NIO offers a lower starting price for their products, more sophisticated features typically come at an additional cost.
Vehicles Delivered, 2020 Q4180,570.17,353.

Tesla vs NIO: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Tesla’s modern designs, high-tech driver interface, and touch-sensitive display are the major factors responsible for the high demand for Tesla models.
  • NIO’s first mass-produced vehicle, ES8, was first commercially sold in June 2018, four (4) years after establishment.
  • NIO offers battery swap solutions to ensure proper charging of your electric vehicle.
  • NIO’s initial name was NextCar. The name NIO was adopted in July 2017; it means “Blue Sky Coming.”
  • Tesla Inc. has its charging network exclusive to all Tesla owners, regardless of the model.

Tesla: The Complete History

Founded by a group of engineers in 2003, Tesla was established to prove that electric vehicles can be equally good — if not better — than gasoline-powered cars.

Along with Elon Musk, other co-founders of the EV manufacturing company are Ian Wright (who left a year after the company was founded in 2004), and JB Straubel (the company’s Chief Technology Officer until 2019).

Although incorporated in 2003, Tesla didn’t launch their first product until 2008. This was when the concept of finding a practical method of creating beautiful, powerful, non-emitting electric cars began to materialize.

Tesla has continued to create electric cars and components ever since, making a significant contribution toward developing a green society. As a continuously expanding company, Tesla now boasts of a network of 100 service centers, 438 stores and galleries, and 30,000+ charging portals (Superchargers) in over 3,100 locations.

So far, the electric vehicles they have manufactured and launched for commercial sales include model S, SUV-style Model X, crossover Model Y, Model 3 sedan, and Roadster.

NIO: The Chinese Tesla

NIO is a Chinese company specializing in manufacturing electric vehicles. Founded in 2014, NIO received funding from multiple top-tier international companies, including Lenovo.

Thanks to its considerable financial backing, NIO has the ability to push boundaries, which has led to incredible accomplishments. Since its establishment, the company has made major investments in the world of technology while creating compelling cars that primarily serve the Chinese market.

For instance, NIO opened its first battery swap station in Shenzhen in May 2018. It also launched a Battery as a Service (BaaS) in August 2020, collaborating with Hubei Science Technology Investment Group Co., Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited, and a subsidiary of Guotai Junan International Holdings Limited to form a battery asset management company. The partnership was aimed at ensuring the affordability of NIO EVs, reducing their purchase prices by roughly 25%.

NIO announced its expansion plans in May 2021, confirming that it would deliver cars to Norway by September 2021. Since then, NIO has successfully delivered 24,439 electric vehicles to consumers, including the ES6, ES8, and EC6 EV models.

NIO vs Tesla: Which One Is Better?

Inarguably, Tesla is still the market leader when it comes to the design and manufacturing of high-end EVs. However, having experienced a production and delivery growth of 100.01% over the last year, NIO is an important brand that’s making a name for itself. Most importantly, its massive capital funding backs the company’s ability to expand its growth even more.

The unique BaaS model makes NIO stand out from the crowd, possibly earning the company a competitive advantage when it comes to gaining market share. Who knows what the future holds; with the recent developments at NIO, we won’t be surprised if they beat Tesla to their game in the near future. Nevertheless, Tesla still remains the better option for now.

Tesla vs NIO: Which Electric Vehicle Rules? FAQs (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?


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 60mph 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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