All electric vehicles are compared in the context of Tesla. That happens when you are the technology leader, disruptor and apex brand. All-in-one.
A question many technology and automotive analysts ponder is which brand will become Tesla’s most prominent rival. Many look at traditional legacy car companies, from Germany, for the answer. But in truth, Tesla’s most likely electric vehicle rival will be Chinese.
No ad to show here.
The world’s most populous country is also, logically, the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. And that means the Chinese domestic car industry has developed an unrivalled battery and technology supply chain, for electric vehicles.
Leveraging the foundation of having access to the best battery packs, Chinese car brands are now delivering compelling electric vehicle designs. For the global market. And the most impressive of those might be from Nio.
Nio is new – and doing it right
An authentic electric vehicle start-up, instead of a legacy automotive company, Nio is young.
In many ways, it is analogous to the Chinese tech economy. Founded in 2014, Nio has delivered a typically rapid Chinese development trajectory. While legacy car companies have teased and dithered concerning their electric vehicles, Nio has delivered.
The Nio ET5 is an elegantly styled sedan powered by potent battery options. It competes directly with Tesla’s Model3 and is arguably the better-looking vehicle, graded on a balance of proportions and detailing.
Nio’s mid-range option is a 100kWh power pack, supplied by the world’s largest battery maker, CATL. It has 90kWh of usable capacity, spinning the ET5’s dual electric motors to a combined power out of 360kW. Performance is expectedly rapid, with Nio’s battery-powered sedan capable of 0-100km/h in only four seconds.
But what about range? Tesla has been unrivalled regarding its range offering with Model3. In its 100kWh battery configuration, Nio’s ET5 should offer a usable real-world range of 495km.
There is a Naspers link
With all the power and performance to rival Tesla’s Model3, the Nio ET5 is seemingly everything the legacy car industry can’t deliver.
Ironically, ET5 might become the Chinese car that conquers high-income disposable market share in Europe, which will be a statement of intent and success for Nio.
An interesting aside regarding Nio, is its South African connection. One of the original Nio investors is Tencent. The Chinese technology company giant is connected to the South African economy thanks to Naspers, which remains a significant shareholder Tencent.