Nio electric car could come to Australia

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.

British outlet Autocar quoted Nio chief executive William Li as saying the new Nio ET5 was “scheduled for production” for the UK, locking in right-hand-drive production of the Tesla Model 3 rival.

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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