Nio partners with CATL to develop long-life batteries, will launch second brand in May

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Nio continues to grow its EV battery-swapping service. Credit: Nio

China-based emerging EV maker Nio announced on March 14 that it will team up with CATL to work on long-life EV batteries to support its battery swapping services. Nio also confirmed that it plans to launch a new EV brand, Onvo, in May 2024.

Nio and CATL signed a framework agreement on Thursday. The duo will develop battery systems with a longer lifecycle for Nio's future battery-swapped vehicles. According to Nio, CATL holds the artificial Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) and other core technologies to enable long-life batteries.

Nio said the average warranty period for EV batteries is eight years. It is estimated that nearly 20 million EVs will reach the end of their quality guarantee period between 2025 and 2032. Car owners will face issues like a gap between an EV's lifecycle and its batteries and significant battery replacement costs.

With more than 2,300 swapping stations worldwide, Nio said it has become the biggest battery-swapping network operator for smart EVs globally. It has partnered with Changan Automobile, Geely, JAC Group, and Chery Automobile for battery-swapping services.

Nio said it has set up an operation system that covers the entire lifecycle of batteries. The system utilizes battery data in swapping services to enhance the longevity of batteries. The company also develops electrolytes, cathode, and anode materials to extend battery lifecycles.

Second EV brand

Nio has been working on establishing its second vehicle brand, internally codenamed Alps. At a media event on March 14, Lihong Qin, Nio's co-founder and president, said the new brand will be called Onvo and launched in May, China-based National Business Daily reported.

William Li, Nio's founder, chairman, and CEO, said Onvo will target the family car market and focus on sales growth, while Nio will prioritize the gross profit rate.

Nio plans to roll out the first Onvo EV in the third quarter and start large-scale deliveries in the fourth quarter. At an earnings call in early March, Li said the vehicle will benchmark against the Tesla Model Y and hold a 10% lower production cost.

According to Li, Onvo's second vehicle model will be an SUV for a big family. He said the car will arrive on the market in 2025. Onvo has also been developing the third model.