China’s Nio Takes on America’s Tesla with an Electric Car Half its Price

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FILE PHOTO: People gather at the booth of Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio as it unveils its ES8 SUV at the Shanghai autoshow, in Shanghai, China April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Founded in 2014, and formerly known as NextEV, Nio, China’s electric vehicle start-up launched its first model on Saturday. The mass-production was distinct in the Chinese market where there is a fierce competition with companies like Tesla.

Nio’s new model, ES8 starts at 448,000 Chinese Yuan, equivalent to $67,765. The price is half that of Tesla’s Model X which goes for 836,000 Chinese Yuan, ($126, 470).

Fitted with an Artificial Intelligence system, the seven-seat ES8 car can accelerate to 100 kilometers, (62 miles) per hour in 4.4 seconds.

William Li, Nio’s founder, and chairman told CNBC that it is hard to assume that this will affect Tesla’s sale in the market, yet Nio enjoys Beijing’s financial support.

In his statement to CNBC, Li said that many people have ditched Tesla for their products. But some are trading with both companies.

“For sure I think Tesla is our rival in that consumers will choose between our products. But I wouldn’t say we are the Chinese Tesla, or they are the American Nio.” Li added.

But Why Electric Vehicles by Nio and Tesla?

The fierce battle for the electric cars in the market backed by Beijing, is due to severe air pollution in the Chinese country. This is the primary reason for the introduction of electric cars.

In a press release on Saturday, Nio also introduced a battery charging plan with a rental subscription set at $19.4 a month. At this station, all ES8 owners can charge their cars. The station will allow the car owners to swap their batteries in about three minutes.  The company will also have a mobile charging service traveling to car owners in need of the service.

By 2020, Nio plans to have over 1,100 power stations and 1,200 mobile power service vehicles.

China’s passion for electric vehicle market and its technology has attracted other giants like BMW and Volkswagen together with Chinese tech titans Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent to join the market.

Even though Nio enjoys total backup from Beijing, Tesla also plans to start its production in China.