Chinese EV startup NIO has announced details of the European expansion of its products and services at a launch event in Berlin on October 7.
After making its European debut in Norway last year, NIO is expanding into Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden this year, and in the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg in 2023.
In these markets, the EV maker will sell three models based on its NT2 platform: the ET7 flagship saloon, ET5 midsize saloon and EL5 midsize SUV. If you're confused about the latter, it's the vehicle Chinese customers know as the ES7 that NIO had to rename to settle a trademark dispute with Audi.
The NIO ET7 is available to order now in the four markets, with deliveries to start on October 16; preorders for the ET5 and EL7 are open now, with deliveries set to start in January and March 2023, respectively.
Gallery: Nio ES7
Interestingly, NIO says its EVs will be available in Europe with subscription models "to encourage EV use." While the press release does not make it very clear, NIO CEO William Li told Reuters that the company will only lease its cars at launch, either for a fixed period or via a more flexible subscription model.
"We will not be selling cars. Flexibility is the new premium," Li said in an interview at the company's new NIO House showroom in central Berlin. The first NIO House in Germany's capital will be followed by eight similar showrooms in Europe this year— in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Gothenburg.
NIO Subscription terms start from just one month to 60 months, with the monthly fee to include insurance, maintenance, winter tyres, a courtesy car and battery swapping, plus the flexibility to upgrade battery services.
Speaking of battery swapping, the Chinese company plans to build 20 Power Swap Stations (PSS) in Europe this year, with the number expected to reach 120 in 2023. Currently, there is one PSS operational in Germany, located in Zusmarshausen, between Munich and Stuttgart. An additional station in Berlin is nearing completion. By 2025, NIO aims to build 1,000 battery swap stations outside of China, most of which will be in Europe.
Obviously, customers will also be able to charge their cars the conventional way, as NIO has access to 380,000 charging points in Europe accessible with NIO NFC cards. To help customers find the most convenient station, the company has introduced a European version of NIO's charging map.
The company also has established a network of Authorised Service Centres in all major city areas of Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. Users can access car data and book service appointments through a "One Click for Service" function via the NIO App.