NIO (Chinese: 蔚来; pinyin: Wèilái) is a Chinese automobile manufacturer headquartered in Shanghai, specializing in designing and developing electric vehicles. The company is also involved in the FIA Formula E Championship, the first single-seater, all-electric racing series.
NIO was founded in November 2014 by William Li (Chinese: 李斌; pinyin: Lǐ Bīn), the Chairman of Bitauto and NextEV. After launch, several companies invested in NIO, including Tencent, Temasek, Baidu, Sequoia, Lenovo and TPG. Its first model, the NIO EP9 sports car, debuted the same day the brand was established.
In October 2016, NIO announced that it had been given an "Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit" by the California DMV and it would begin testing on public roads under the "Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program" guidelines as part of its autonomous vehicle program. According to the company, it planned to launch vehicles with level-three and level-four autonomy.
In May 2018, NIO opened its first battery swap station in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, dubbed the "Power Swap Station". Only batteries for ES8 cars would be available from this station.
In September 2018, the company filed for a US$1.8 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
In late April 2020, Nio announced ~$1B in new funding from a group of Chinese investors, which was needed due to the company's struggles to sell its vehicles. As part of the deal, Nio would transfer assets to a new subsidiary called Nio China, which will be headquartered in Hefei.
In August 2020, Nio launched Battery as a Service (BaaS) along with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (“CATL”), Hubei Science Technology Investment Group Co., Ltd. and a subsidiary of Guotai Junan International Holdings Limited. Each contributing RMB200 million into the venture for 25% equity. BaaS helps lower the purchase price of Nio electric vehicles by about 25%.
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