Nio has finally started its international expansion. Starting with Norway, the company will not refrain from using its most impressive characteristic: a feasible battery swap technology that has already proven to be successful in China. As we guessed, the first model to be put for sale is the ES8. In 2022, the ET7 saloon will also be available to Norwegian customers.
The man in charge of Nio in Norway will be Marius Hayler as the company’s general manager. He was the presenter at the press conference with William Li, CEO’s founder. Both of them outlined the strategy they intend to follow.
In July, Nio will allow customers to start downloading the Nio app. Its first job will probably relate to making test drive appointments with the ES8, the company’s flagship SUV. They are scheduled to begin in August.
In September, Nio will open reservations and deliveries for the ES8 as well as its first Nio House. The SUV will be sold with its 100 kWh battery pack. When it comes to the Nio House, the 2,000-square-metres location will be right at the centre of Norway’s capital and largest city, Oslo. It will be the first one outside China ever to be built.
Preorders and sales will be made either at the Nio House, through the app, and also at the company’s website. Nio said, “offline distribution would be made at Nio Houses or, as the company also calls them, its “lifestyle locations.” Yet, it also said deliveries would be made at Service Centres. We’ll check with them what that truly means. Nio calls this sales strategy O2O (offline to online).
Apart from Oslo, Nio also plans to have these spaces in Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, and Kristansand. They are planned to be presented in 2022 and will include different experience spaces for gastronomy, children’s playgrounds, and conference rooms. By that time, they should already have the ET7 available for customer presentations.
September will also be the month for the first Nio Service Centres and Nio Swap Stations. Before the end of 2021, Nio plans to have four of these battery swap locations, probably around Oslo. In 2022, it will open more units, and the plan is to have a power network in five Norwegian cities.
Regarding service, Nio will have its Service Centres and also mobile service vehicles, which will be able to “carry out simple repair and maintenance work on-site.” For busy owners, the company will also offer a pick-up-and-delivery service. Since its own network may not be enough to service the cars in the entire country, Nio will also count on authorised partners for that.
We are not sure if Nio does that in China, but it will also create a User Advisory Board so that customers can suggest improvements and have closer contact with the company. That will help it get better with honest feedback.
The company has not yet revealed the European prices for the ES8 nor if it will sell the cars without the battery packs and with the BaaS (Battery as a Service) model it also adopts in China. With the battery stations, it is not unlikely that Nio follows the same strategy, which should make the ES8 more affordable. We talked to Hayler and he said this: "We have not taken a formal decision, but we are investigating this great concept."
The company promises its clients will spend less than 3 minutes waiting for a battery swap. For the ones willing to follow the traditional charging route, the company said it would also create a charging network in Norway.