NIO celebrates 500,000th EV and preps sub-brand Onvo launch

Chinese automaker NIO has celebrated the 500,000th car, an ES8, rolling off the production lines of its F2 plant at NeoPark in Hefei, the capital of east China’s Anhui Province. With that milestone, it confirms its position as China’s leading premium EV brand in the market for cars above 300,000 yuan (€38,500), the number one place it has maintained since 2019 in China.

At the ceremony, NIO confirmed it will officially launch its sub-brand Onvo (Ledao in China) on May 15th. The sub-brand is targeted to compete with Tesla’s popular Model Y at a price of around 250,000 yuan (€32,000). William Li, Nio’s founder, chairman, and CEO, said NIO can build the Onvo L60 at a cost about 10 percent cheaper than that of the Tesla Model Y.

NIO’s first car

The ES8 SUV was NIO’s first electric car, launched seven years ago and three years after the company was founded. The 2024 ES8, which rolled off the production lines as the 500,000th car, was launched in February of this year, with first deliveries in early March.

In China, this vehicle, which somewhat compares to the Mercedes EQE, BMW iX, or Audi e-tron, starts at 498,000 yuan (€63,900). In Europe, it is only available in Norway.

NIO’s William Li expects much of the lower-priced sub-brand Onvo, launched on May 15th, to reach the one million milestone soon. Onvo stands for ‘On voyage’, but its Chinese name, Ledao, literally means ‘Path to Happiness’. That name was carefully chosen with families in mind.

“What are the most important things for a family?” William Li said before. “The first is to be happy and joyful. The second is to care about the price and the cost of use. These two points add up to having a happy family and managing the family well. Every road a family takes together is a happy road, and that’s what its name means.”

Redefining family car standards

This Onvo L60 must ‘redefine the standard for family cars’ as a fierce competitor for the Tesla Model Y, which is still one of China’s most popular EV SUVs. Onvo is built on NIO’s new NT3 EV platform, which has a BOM (bill of materials) that is about ten percent cheaper.

The new Onvo L60 compares somewhat with the NIO EC6 SUV /NIO

Like all NIOs, the Onvos will have a swappable battery. Today, NIO has 2,413 power swap stations operational in China and installed 22,292 charging points nationwide.

In Europe, it has expanded its global footprint, with 43 power swap stations and 16 charging stations established at the end of April. NIO sells in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands.

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