Blue-Sky Thinking
evo India|June 2019

With its fresh approach to EVs – from Ring-proven tech to three-minute battery swaps – could Chinese brand Nio beat Tesla at its own game?

FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN: the number of electric car companies in China. As of today, that is, because that figure is fluid and fluctuates with more regularity than a banana republic currency. How many of those 487 are ghost companies operating out of zombie factories is harder to surmise, but even taking these into account, the country’s drive to be the world’s leading supplier of electric vehicles is not up for debate – 1.2 million were sold in China in 2018.

One of the many start-ups looking to leave a permanent tyre track in the market is Nio. You may know Nio from its headline-grabbing arrival into the automotive world by setting a lap record for an electric supercar on the Nürburgring’s infamous northern loop. The EP9’s 6 minute 45.9 second lap was not just the fastest ever for an EV at the Ring, but Lamborghini’s Aventador SVJ is the only production car to have gone quicker (by a second). Yet that moment of glory was two years ago, and despite 16 EP9s having been delivered to Chinese customers, the car remains absent from the majority of Ring lap time leaderboards for production, street-legal vehicles.

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