Nio Makes Moves to Expand U.S. Operations

Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio is planning to expand its presence in Silicon Valley. 

2022 Nio ET5 midsize side
Nio recently showed off its newest vehicle, the ET5 midsize sedan. It’s also expanding its presence in the U.S.

Looking to challenge Tesla, the company recently signed a 10-year lease for more space to house its headquarters and engineering operations, according to The San Jose Mercury News. The new space triples Nio’s footprint in California, the News said. The new lease follows reports in December it was actively looking for executive talent in the U.S. to help build the company’s operations. 

Nio, however, has not announced when it plans to begin selling cars in the U.S. While Nio stock is traded on Wall Street, the share price has tumbled in recent days as investors have divesting EV stocks since the first of the year. The broad sell-off has also hit other EV stocks such as Rivian and Lucid and event Tesla has fallen despite its record production in 2021 when it built nearly 100,000 million vehicles 

Meanwhile, Nio reported an 109% increase in sales during 2021 and is now selling vehicles across Europe. It entered the Norwegian market, a prime testing ground for EV makers in 2021. With the move into Norway, Nio took the first major step to expand globally, the company said. 

The Chinese EV maker also plans to enter markets in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark this year. 

Sales growing quickly 

Nio delivered a total of 10,489 vehicles, up 49.7% year-on-year, in December. For the fourth quarter, Nio’s deliveries reached 25,034 units, rising 44.3% year-on-year, representing a positive growth for seven quarters in a row. 

Nio 2021 battery swap station
Battery swapping, once dismissed in the U.S., may be gaining some traction again — which would help Nio immensely.

In 2021, the company delivered 91,429 vehicles, up 109.1% year-on-year and more than quadrupled from 2019. As of Dec. 31, 2021, its vehicle deliveries amounted to 167,070 units in total. 

Nio unveiled the smart electric flagship sedan ET7 and the midsize smart electric sedan ET5. 

In 2022, the company expects to begin deliveries of three vehicle models developed on the company’s NT2.0 platform. It also plans to begin operating its second factory during the third quarter. 

Handling the batteries differently

One of Nio’s unique selling points is that it has embraced swapping batteries as way to overcome consumer anxiety about range and charging time, which surveys indicate inhibit would-be EV buyers in many markets.  

So far, Nio has built 778 Power Swap stations worldwide but mostly in China, and recently entered into an agreement with Shell Oil to build 100 more in China by 2025 as well as opening an unknown number of pilot swapping stations in Europe this year. 

In addition, the company reports it has installed 4,582 superchargers and destination chargers, and opened 15 Nio Houses — essentially locations for owners to get more information about vehicles, have a coffee or even use a meeting space — and 72 service centers in 2021.  

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