Like Tesla and Xpeng (Xiaopeng), Nio (Weilai) plans to use lithium iron phosphate batteries to position entry-level electric cars at a more affordable price, it is reported. A Nio ES4 compact SUV, along with a coupe cousin Nio EC4, as well as a compact sedan, could be these entry-level models. Note that Nio has not confirmed names of future models, but it is logical to expect a top-down approach as William Bin Li, Chairman and CEO of Nio said during the Q3 earnings call in November that it does not intend to go above the ES8. He had stated that the next two launches are sedans.
A new report from Yuguancheshi says that Nio has signed a deal for a lithium iron phosphate battery production line with CATL. The homegrown battery maker is the biggest name in its business by volume, and it is testing the new low-cost batteries for Nio, it is reported.
Adopting LFP batteries might be seen as a regressive move by some, but its lower cost and stability compared with lithium-ion batteries have motivated automakers to bring them back into their production line. Also, companies don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket. Cutting dependency on a single battery type or chemistry means more flexibility and fewer supply issues.
The report says that there’s no information about the Nio models which will get the lithium iron phosphate batteries, but the first launch should take place this year. Meanwhile, the top brass at Nio suggest that the company isn’t looking at waging a price war with Tesla and becoming a regular brand.
On the Tesla Model Y’s price cuts in China recently, William Bin Li, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Nio, indicated that the company wants to generate revenues from fewer but higher value cars. “If Tesla is equivalent to Ford (and) Volkswagen, Weilai is now the BBA (BMW Brilliance Automotive),” he said, as per another report from Yuguancheshi.
The lower cost LFP batteries could be aimed at making Nio cars a bit more accessible while preserving the premiumness of the brand. More information could emerge at the Nio Day 2020 event tomorrow, where the production Nio eT Preview (first Nio sedan) and a 150 kWh battery will debut.
Featured Image Source: Nio