Nio is a name that most people in the United States probably won’t recognize. Still, Nio and its founder (sometimes called the “Elon Musk of China”) is an important company to learn about for anyone looking to understand the international electric car market. Today, we are going to be taking a brief look at the company, specifically to find out who this “Chinese Elon Musk” could be. Let’s get started!
What Even is Nio?
Despite having zero presence in the United States, Nio is an electric car company that a lot of people will be talking about very soon. Simply put, Nio is an EV (electric vehicle) maker opening out of Shanghai, and their current output and scale place them as one of the most successful companies in the EV business.
Like most EV makers out there today, Nio makes cars, but they also do some other things. Currently, they have four primary production models, the NIO ES8, NIO ES6, NIO EC6, and the NIO ET7, spanning the sedan, compact, and SUV markets. Outside of its vehicle ventures, Nio has large divisions devoted to Ai, Autonomous Driving, and a special battery-swapping system. Among these, the battery-swapping system is probably the most unique. Currently, EVs have a large battery system that is charged and depleted much like a cell phone. With current technology, a full charge, even on a really fast charger, will usually exceed 45 minutes. With the battery swapping system in a Nio, however, the entire battery is swapped instead of being charged, allowing for 5-minute transfers when needed.
“NIO Power is a mobile internet-based power solution with extensive networks for battery charging and battery swap facilities. Enhanced by Power Cloud, it offers a power service system with chargeable, swappable and upgradable batteries to provide users with power services catering to all scenarios.”Nio Power
The cars are priced between $50,000 and $70,000, although the exact model will determine the price. In China and Norway, the only places where the cars are currently being sold, they are usually considered luxury vehicles and compete against other luxury cars in their respective markets. As the company expands, they hope to expand to the United States in 2025, although it was already listed on the New York Stock Exchange back in 2018.
The Elon Musk of China
In order to get into the EV, AI, and autonomous driving game, you have to be a bit of a forward thinker. Where the United States has Elon Musk, China has William Li. William Li, also known as Li Bin or 李斌, is a Chinese businessman and entrepreneur that is the primary founder of Nio and currently operates as its CEO.
The founding of Nio came, as many founding do when Li recognized a problem in China. Li was frustrated with the incessant smog and pollution that hung over so many Chinese cities, taking away the beauty and health of a place that billions of people call home. His solution? The Blue Sky Coming initiative. As its name suggests, Blue Sky is intended to help produce a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to current vehicles. Since Nio means “a new day” and the company’s Chinese name, “Blue Sky Coming”, the initiative seems to fit rather nicely.
“I founded NIO in 2014. At that time, the pollution in China made the sky grey. I wanted to make some impact on the environment and bring the blue sky back,” William Li, the founder and CEO of NIO, said about why he started the journey.”Nio
Although Li is listed as the current CEO and founder, he also had a partner with him, Lihong Qin. Lihong Qin is considered to be the president and co-founder of the company, although his name doesn’t usually show up in as many articles as Li’s does.
When was Nio founded?
Nio was founded in November 2014 in Shanghai, China. Since then, it has been listed on multiple markets, including the New York Stock Exchange (2018), the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, and the Singapore Exchange Limited.
Since the company’s inception, Nio has produced over 238,000 vehicles and continues expanding production to other markets.
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The image featured at the top of this post is ©Andy Feng/Shutterstock.com.