Range anxiety and slow charging times for electric cars could be solved by a clever solution from an emerging brand.
Nio has announced plans for a expansion of its European sales network, including battery-swap hubs that allow owners to drive in with a flat battery, and drive away with a freshly charged unit after a few minutes.
The model could be applied to Australia following an expansion into the UK.
That could open the door to Nio selling cars in Australia.
The Chinese brand has a unique take on the future of motoring, pitching cars and key features a subscription-based service.
Nio’s European expansion to Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands focuses on month-to-month subscriptions for new cars that cannot be bought outright.
Customers can pay €1100 ($A1837 per month) to drive Nio’s electric sedan in Europe.
The company has invested in battery-swap technology that allows customers to drive their car into a battery changing station to receive a freshly charged energy source in a few minutes.
A subscription to Nio’s battery swap service costs about $190 per month in China.
There, customers can save money by purchasing a car without a battery – much like choosing a “skin only” power tool at a hardware store.
Nio says customers save about ¥70,000 ($A13,370) on the purchase price of a car when choosing not to own their battery, though they must subscribe to a battery swap plan.
The Nio ET5 starts from ¥328,000 in China ($A62,690) with a 75kWh battery, or about $49,000 without a battery.
Able to reach 100km/h 4.3 seconds, the Nio has around 550 kilometres of claimed range when equipped with a 75kWh battery.
Interestingly, customers can also buy or lease bigger batteries as required, gaining more than 700km with a 100kWh battery, or more than 1000km with a 150kWh ultralong range battery.
While Tesla charges Australian customers more than $10,000 up front for its “full self-driving” package, Nio’s customers pay ¥680 per month ($A130) for Autonomous Driving features.
Luxury features inside the model include 256-colour ambient lighting, a 10.2-inch digital drivers cluster and 12.8-inch central infotainment screen.
Nio promises to introduce a new level of in-car entertainment with a high-tech augmented reality system accessed through special glasses sold for about $500 per pair.
The display projects an enormous virtual screen in front of passengers, accompanied by a premium Dolby Atmos surround sound system.
Originally published as Nio ET5 confirmed in right-hand-drive
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