Nio's founder: 2023 sales will surpass Lexus' ICE models in China

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Nio introduced EC7 and ES8 to the market. Credit: Nio

China-based EV startup Nio launched two new SUVs on Christmas Eve. Deliveries are expected to start in the second quarter of 2023. William Li, the company's founder, chairman and CEO, said he is confident that Nio will outsell Lexus' gasoline cars in China next year.

The EV maker held the Nio Day 2022 in Hefei on the evening of December 24, introducing EC7 and ES8 to the market.

According to a press release, EC7, a coupe SUV, is equipped with a 300kW high-performance induction motor and 180kW high-efficiency permanent magnet motor. The combination consumes low energy and maintains power continuity. Nio said it only takes an EC7 3.8 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100km.

The all-around ES8 is a six-seater carrying two motors with a total maximum output of 480kW, according to the carmaker. Both vehicles are based on Nio's second-generation electric drive platform and come with the latest Banyan intelligent system.

Nio said enhanced technologies like Aquila and Adam enable the intelligent system. Aquila is a super sensor system equipped with 33 high-performance sensors, including LiDARs. Adam, enabled by Orin X chips, is a supercomputing platform with computing power up to 1016T.

According to Nio, the deliveries of EC7 and ES8 are expected to start in May and June, respectively, in China.

The EV maker also released the third-generation battery swap station on December 24. It said the new station can enable 408 swaps every day, a 30% capacity growth from the previous one.

Nio saw its 300,000th car roll off a production line on December 12, according to an announcement. It has been more than four years since the production started. The company delivered more than 106,000 cars from January to November 2022, a 31.8% increase from 2021.

At a joint interview following the Nio Day event, Li said while Nio's sales for 2023 will be far behind the internal combustion engine sales of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, he is assured the EV maker will outsell Lexus's ICE models in China next year.

According to CnEVPost, Qin Lihong, Nio's co-founder and president, said Lexus sales were likely a little over 200,000 units in 2021 and are estimated to be close to the number in 2022.

When asked about the forecast for China's automotive market next year, Li said the market will face challenges due to the termination of the new energy vehicle (NEV) subsidy program.

He explained that the demand for NEVs will arise by the end of 2022 before the program ends. Consumers will need some time to regain confidence in the vehicles in the first half of 2023. However, the market is expected to return to normalcy in May or June 2023.