NIO set to change the face of car ownership

Jiading-based NIO Automobile, considered quite a legend in the industry, is determined to make a change in car ownership. 

Jiading-based NIO Automobile, considered quite a legend in the industry, is determined to make a change in car ownership.

Started from scratch in a tiny office in Anting three years ago, the company has branched out to 19 offices and 4,000 employees in 40 countries and regions.

It has its global headquarters and R&D center in Shanghai, a design center in Germany, autopilot R&D center in the US, performance program and Formula-E team headquarters in the UK, software R&D center in Beijing, manufacturing base in Hefei and a trial manufacturing factory in Nanjing.

One thing NIO founder Li Bin has repeatedly mentioned since starting up is redefining what it means to own a car.

“Owning a car would mean a vision for the blue sky and having a pleasant lifestyle,” Li said in a letter addressed to the public.

The company spares no efforts in pushing limits.

An NIO fleet participated in FIA Formula E Championship in 2015 and took first place. It also set the unmanned EV speed record at 257kph in Texas last year with its first model EP9.

Its latest model ES8 takes only 4.4 seconds to get to the speed of 100kph from a standing start, when other EVs in the price range can’t get below 5 seconds.

It is loaded with the Mobileye EQ4 chip for the autopilot, which responds over 10 times faster than a human driver. The interior space has also been upgraded to be more woman and child-friendly.

The model will have traveled 3 million kilometers in tests before it is due to hit the market in March or April.

Electric vehicles have a tremendous future. It is estimated that by 2020, Chinese consumers would purchase 3 million EVs. In the meantime, NIO plan to crack down on the charging issue, which has long been a sticking point for EVs.

By 2020, the company will set up nationwide 1,100 charging stations and 1,200 mobile charging cars that act as mobile batteries.

The automobile culture and the professionals here are the reasons why NIO chose to settle in Anting, said Zhu Jiang, vice president in charge of client development.

Jiading has clear planning for auto industry and has provided plenty of support for the company, he said. In the current phase where new energy cars are on the rise, the industry, including NIO, expects advanced policies from Shanghai to facilitate administrative communication and innovation.