Chinese electric car maker could partner with European manufacturer to build ET7 sedan and expand into right-hand drive markets.
Chinese EV maker Nio has confirmed its new ET7 sedan will arrive on the German market in late 2022, following the imminent arrival of the ES8 SUV, and has hinted at the potential for production in Europe.
The ES8 is now on sale in Norway (you can read our Nio ES8 review here) and will soon be available in Germany, where Nio has deemed EV demand sufficient to make a market launch viable, but the brand has yet to confirm a date for the right-hand drive market of the UK. However, it has previously suggested to us it is highly likely to launch RHD vehicles, keeping the potential open for an Australian introduction later on, although electric car sales will need to continue to climb before Nio sees the local market as viable.
The ET7 is a Tesla Model S rival with a claimed maximum range of almost 1000km (on the Chinese NEDC cycle) from its largest 150kWh battery and a twin-motor powertrain pumping out 480kW and 850Nm for a 0-100km/h time of 3.9sec. It also features a raft of advanced driver assistance features that, the company says, enable autonomous driving.
The car has already entered trial production at Nio’s Hefei plant ahead of Chinese deliveries starting in early 2022, but speaking to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung recently, chairman William Li said “very high” interest from German customers has prompted the firm to commit to a European roll-out next year.
Not only that, but comments from Li in the same interview suggest the firm could cement its market position in Europe by building cars in the region. He said: “I believe if we have a lot of sales in the European market, we can also explore the other possibilities to work with other supply chain partners.
“I understand that in Europe, there is manufacturing capacity. We can also explore the possibility to work together with other OEMs and to discuss joint manufacturing with them.”
The company has not named any potential production partners but this announcement, notably, follows Li’s recent investment into Lotus Technology.
Lotus said its new partnership with Nio could pave the way for both companies to “explore opportunities for mutually beneficial industrial co-operation”. However, given Lotus’s European production operations are centred in Norfolk and Nio has yet to launch its cars in there, it remains unclear how Lotus could assist in this regard.