Nio is all set to commence its business in its first overseas market in Norway. The first offering from the company, Nio ES8, will be launched in Norway’s capital city of Oslo on September 23. The prices of the model are scheduled to be announced at the time of the launch.
The Norway launch of the car was confirmed by Qin Lihong, co-founder and president, Nio. Nio started offering ES8 test drives in Norway on 30 August 2021. Customers can drive the ES8 on the track, in rough terrain, and on the road.
Road to the Norwegian launch
On 6 May 2021, Nio announced its market strategy for Norway, its first step overseas. The Chinese electric vehicle startup revealed that it plans to build a 360-degree ecosystem that includes services, cars, lifestyle, digital experience, and an EV owner community in its first European market. The Nio ET7 sedan would follow the Nio ES8 as the second car in 2022.
On 10 June 2021, Nio disclosed progress in its Norwegian project. The company received the mandatory type approval certificate, called ‘European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA),’ for the Nio ES8. Meanwhile, a new issue was cropping up about VAT exemption for the BaaS business model, as per a report from Bilbransje24.
The first batch of the Nio ES8 for Norway left the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Port in China on 20 July 2021. Wallenius Wilhelmsen carrier Torino is transporting the export batch of Nio EVs. Nio says that customers deliveries in Norway are on track to begin this month.
Nio reaffirmed at the time of first export shipment announcement that it will offer Nio Power system, Nio Service and Delivery Center, Nio, House, Nio App, and Nio Life to its Norwegian customers. The same month (July 2021), CnEVPost reported that Nio has started hiring more aggressively in Europe. The company has established its regional headquarters in Amsterdam.
Nio has confirmed that it will offer the ES8 in Norway with a 100 kWh battery pack with a range of 500 km (WLTP). 6- and 7-seat seating layout options, 1,901 litres luggage space (in the 6-seat version), 1,500 kg towing capacity, and a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 4.9 seconds are some of the specifications the company has confirmed.
The acceleration time suggests that there would be two motors enabling an all-wheel drive layout and generating 400 kW (544 PS/536 bhp) and 725 Nm. Nomi AI companion, Nio Pilot autonomous driving system, and Nio OS are the features on board the ES8 units headed Norway. There’s no word on the pricing yet.
Sales & Service network
Nio would build sales and service networks in Norway. The first ‘Nio House’ as the company terms it, is at Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s cultural and business center.
Marius Hayler, General Manager, Nio Norway, has confirmed to ElectricVehicleWeb that in addition to the Nio House, the company will open a Nio Service and Delivery Center (NSC) in Oslo/Ensjø this month. By next year, it will open four Nio Spaces in the Norwegian cities of Stavanger, Bergen, Kristiansand, and Trondheim.
Premium after-sale experience for Nio customers in Norway will extend to service as well. A 1,800 square-foot delivery and service center is coming up in Oslo this month. Moreover, Nio plans to offer a pickup and delivery service for convenient vehicle service and mobile vehicle service. A technician would give a visit to the customer’s location for the maintenance/repair work.
The ground floor will have a display area for lifestyle products (presumably Nio Life items) and a separate configuration room for cars. There will be meeting rooms, playrooms for children, a ‘Flexible Activity Room,’ and a library with a fireplace in the basement. A cafe and bar with windows facing Karl Johans gate are also planned for Nio customers in Oslo.
Battery swapping station
Nio confirmed that it would introduce its battery swapping system to Norwegian customers. It intends to establish a charging map for all of Europe and introduce its first four ‘NIO Power Swap’ stations.
By the end of 2022, Nio estimates to have swap stations in Norway connecting 5 major freeways and cities. The company will launch the Nio app for Europe in the third quarter for a digital experience of the products and services.
By the end of 2021, our aim is to build four swap stations in and around the Oslo region to provide users in the Oslo region with an experience where you worry as little as possible about the range. With the swap stations, you can easily travel to your cabin on the weekends without charging. During 2022, our plan is to bring swap station to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, and Kristiansand. But let me assure you that Nio Power swap stations will also be placed on other locations in Norway.Marius Hayler, General Manager Norway, Nio
On 7 July 2021, Nio Power Home, Nio Power Swap Station, and Nio Power Charger received the TUV Rheinland European Conformity Certificate and TUV MARK Approval Certificate. Now that the company has received these certifications, it can sell and operate them in all European Union countries. The same day, Nio said that it plans to build up its complete power service system in Norway.
Nio plans to ready its charging map for Europe and start the first four Nio Power Swap Stations in the region this year. The company has shipped the first Nio Power Swap Stations and Nio Power Chargers to Norway.
Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu says Nio lacks brand awareness and expects it to face an uphill battle, TipRanks reported on 8 June 2021. However, seeing that the company does not plan to be just another importer, it could eventually become familiar in Europe. The decision to set up a complete ecosystem including battery swap stations reflects Nio’s sincerity towards the European markets. The commitment should start paying off not long after expanding its availability to all main markets in the region.
Conventional charging methods for ES8 & ET7
Nio customers in Norway will be able to use Plugsurfing charging network’s charging stations as well, which means a hassle-free charging experience while driving outside Norway anywhere in Europe. “We will have a cooperation with Plugsurfing to provide our users with European-wide charging capability through more than 20,000 charging points,” said Marius Hayler, General Manager Norway, Nio.
The brand has also announced its User Advisory Board Project. Users in Norway are invited to share their ideas on charging and swapping convenience, store operations, service quality, and other aspects of the brand.
Norway’s interest in electric vehicles
Norway’s huge demand for EVs, driven by an aggressive government push, makes it the most attractive market for automakers launching EVs in Europe. For some companies, Norway happens to be the most lucrative export market globally. In December 2020, Xpeng Motors entered Norway as its first overseas market, and FAW’s Hongqi brand announced plans to serve Norwegian customers this year.
Norway became the world’s first country in which more than 50% of new vehicle sales were of electric cars, Norsk elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association) said in a report. In another report, Norsk elbilforening said that 76,789 electric cars were sold in Norway last year and that their market share was a whopping 54.3%. Norway plans to switch completely to electric cars by 2025, and EV brands are making it a priority market.
In more recent developments at Nio, the company sees a trend of alternative vehicle ownership modes. “Along with the growing user base and expanding battery offerings, more and more users opt for Battery-as-a-Service, BaaS,” William Bin Li, Chairman and CEO, Nio, told analysts during the Q4 2020 earnings conference call. “In February 2021, the take rate of BaaS among new orders has reached 55%,” Bin Li added.
On the Nio ET7
The Nio ET7 features the company’s latest autonomous driving technology that allows hands-free driving on expressways, and during parking and battery swapping. It also features a new version of the brand’s NOMI, the world’s first in-car companion (with AI). Two more highlights worth mentioning are a new 12.8-inch AMOLED centre display with a much better resolution and contrast compared to the unit in existing Nio models, and a 7.1.4 channel sound system with 23 speakers and a 1,000-watt total output.
Powering the Nio ET7 is a permanent magnet synchronous motor at the front and an induction motor at the rear. The PMSM produces 180 kW (245 PS) and 350 Nm, while the induction motor generates 300 kW (408 PS) and 500 Nm. Together, they offer 480 kW (653 PS) of power and 850 Nm of torque. Battery pack options include conventional 70 kWh and 100 kWh units offering a range of 500+ km and around 700 km, respectively. The 150 kWh solid-state unit allows a range of 1,000+ km, but this option won’t become available before Q4 2022, though.
The Nio ET7 is an executive or E-segment sedan, an all-electric alternative to conventional business sedans like the Mercedes E-Class. Set to be launched in Q1 2022, it will rival the Mercedes EQE, Tesla Model S, and Porsche Taycan. It is confirmed for the Norwegian market in 2022.
In China, the ET7 starts at a pre-subsidy price of RMB 448,000. The car is available in two variants and two battery options. While the standard ET7 will be available with both a 70 kWh battery pack and a 100 kWh battery pack as options, the Premier Edition will only be available with a 100 kWh battery pack. Additionally, Nio’s BaaS (battery-as-a-service) plan further reduces that cost. Prices for Norway have not been announced.
|Nio ET7 variant||Battery type||With Battery||BaaS|
|Standard||70 kWh||RMB 448,000||RMB 378,000 (RMB 980/month)|
|Standard||100 kWh||RMB 506,000||RMB 378,000 (RMB 1,480/month)|
|Premier Edition||100 kWh||RMB 526,000||RMB 398,000 (RMB 1,480/month)|
Nio ET7 completes winter testing
With the launch date getting closer, Nio has finished winter testing the ET7 in July, as per a video uploaded by the company on its Youtube page. Since the northern hemisphere is currently in the summer months, Nio transported the ET7 to New Zealand to finish the task.
The winter test reportedly took place over a month at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds (SHPG), the international winter test track in New Zealand, CNEVPost reports. The winter test is an important part of the ET7 testing program and includes testing on all types of low-traction surfaces, verification and testing of the power control system, chassis performance testing and calibration and testing of selected drive modes.
The test was conducted over various types of surfaces and checked and tested the functions and capabilities of each of the car’s features. The company shared three such examples – testing on a 60-metre radius snow-circle tested the car’s electronic stability control (ESC) and a 125-metre-long combined asphalt and ice road test verified the ABS and traction control systems. And finally, a 1,273-metre-long handling road that tested all of the above simultaneously under low traction.
The Nio ET7 still has a few more tests to undergo before its Chinese launch in early 2022, as the video concludes by stating “Global testing in progress.”
EV share in Norway’s new car sales to continue rising
In an internal interview in January this year, Christina Bu, Secretary-General (Generalsekretær), Norwegian EV Association (Norsk elbilforening), said that the share of EVs in new car sales will increase further. “Our preliminary forecast is that the market share for electric cars will pass 65 percent in 2021,” she said (translated).
In March 2021, Nikkei Asia reported that Norway has 35 chargers per 10,000 people, a far higher number than France (around 6.9 per 10,000 people) and Japan (around 2.3 per 10,000). EVs in Norway get VAT exemption, access to bus lanes, lower parking fee, and many incentives, as per Norsk elbilforening. The country’s government aims to convert new car sales entirely to EVs by 2025.
At the recently concluded Q2 2021 earnings call on August 11, William Li, Founder and CEO at Nio said that the focus is currently on user experience. Li said that deliveries in the Norwegian market may not be significant this year. Instead the company is focusing on building the brand and expanding their sales and service network thereby ensuring high user satisfaction. Li added that in terms of the global market, a long-term focus is more important. The company has been working with prospective users in Norway to set up a user advisory where they have already received a number of constructive and good feedback, Li said.
Featured image: Nio