As a Counter to Tesla China-Built SUV, Nio Launches First Electric Sedan Model

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio Inc is taking on conventional gasoline premium automakers from BMW to Audi further, launching on Saturday its first sedan model as it eyes a greater share of the world’s largest car market.

The introduction of the ET7 came as competitor Tesla began marketing its China-made Model Y sport utility car on the Chinese market.

To draw more clients, Nio plans to broaden its product lineup. Sedans and SUVs each make up about 46 percent of total sales in China’s passenger car industry.

Chief Executive William Li said the latest battery technology from Nio will provide the ET7 with a drive range between charges of over 1,000 km (621 miles).

The starting price for the car without the battery pack, one of the most costly EV parts, would be 378,000 yuan ($58,378), which can then be rented from the business. The starting price is 448,000 yuan with the battery pack.

Li said in an interview ET7’s aim rivals were BMW’s 5-series, Audi’s A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-class sedans.

It was “reasonable” that Nio could sell a similar amount of ET7 as BMW’s 5-series sedans in China in the future, Li said but provided no specifics of a timeline.

For the BMW 5-series, the starting price is 426,900 yuan and in China, BMW sells over 10,000 of them per month.

Li said the ET7 will be equipped with lidar sensors to support drivers, a system rejected by the vocal president of Tesla Inc, Elon Musk, which lets the vehicle sense its environment and is mostly used in autonomous vehicles.

The Californian automaker, Tesla which sells Model 3 sedans made in Shanghai, has only begun selling its Model Y cars at a starting price of 339,900 yuan. For driver assistance, it incorporates sensors.

Nio, which last year delivered 43,728 cars, has a market capitalization of more than $92 billion, surpassing conventional car producers Daimler AG and General Motors Co.

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