Company officials say the electric SUV model NIO ES8 can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 4.4 seconds.
Chinese Company Launches Electric Car
Shanghai-based smart car developer NextEV recently launched its electric SUV model NIO ES8, Chinese media reported this week.
According to the company, the seven-seater NIO ES8 can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 4.4 seconds, compared with the 4.9 seconds of Tesla's Model X, CCTV+ reported.
A standard version of the ES8 is priced at more than $68,000 USD compared to the $128,00 USD price tag of the Tesla.
NIO also enjoys the advantage of Beijing's state subsidies for electric vehicles, which can drive the price for the purchaser down to as low as $56,000 USD.
While Tesla has sold cars in China for several years, the company isn't eligible for these subsidies because its products are imported. To get around these restrictions, the California carmaker was recently reported to have reached an agreement to build a factory in China. Other foreign automakers have also formed partnerships with existing Chinese manufacturers in order to tap into the large electric vehicle market.
But staff at NIO remain confident about their competitive position.
“People tend to compare the NIO with other brands in physical terms. But in fact the car itself is only a very small part of an integrated system comprising the software system, the cloud, the Internet and consumer service. What makes NIO special is that it's an Internet product, we are designing a whole system based around consumer satisfaction. The products may seem similar to our rivals', but our business model is brand new," said Zhu Jiang, vice president of the user development department at NIO, as quoted in the report.
The company rolled out its first model on Dec 16 and with it came a driver-assistance system featuring a highway pilot, a traffic jam pilot and an automatic emergency braking system.
The car also features an artificial intelligence system called NOMI that regulates the temperature, plays music based on voice requests and can even take photos.
But the greatest chatter has been around the company's plans to establish swap stations that will install fully charged batteries in just three minutes. It also promises "Power Mobile" service vehicles that can travel to stranded drivers and recharge them beside the road.
Zhu said the changes NIO are going to bring to the market will be as dramatic as comparing an Apple to a conventional mobile phone. However, experts still believe it remains questionable to just what extent NIO can make these plans a reality.
Founded in 2014, NIO has just completed a one billion U.S. dollar funding round led by Chinese tech giant Tencent. Zhu also denied media reports that NIO is considering a US IPO next year and says that thanks to its over 50 investors, NIO will be able to continue developing on its own for another year or two.