Currently reading: Nio officially enters Europe, ES8 on sale in Norway from July
Seven-seat electric SUV is brand's first European model, with ET7 saloon and battery swap stations to follow

Chinese EV brand Nio has confirmed that it will initiate its European roll-out within the coming months, with its Nio ES8 SUV available to order in Norway from July.

Nio's European Vice President Hui Zhang recently told Autocar that the firm was on track for a European launch in 2021, but had yet to decide which country it would sell cars in first. 

Earlier this year, Norway became the first country in the world where the majority of new car sales were pure-electric cars. Nio CEO William Li said the Scandinavian country is "at the forefront of e-mobility andsustainable growth", which coupled with its "strong sense of community and high purchasing power", make it a "perfect fit" for Nio.

The ES8, on sale in China since 2018, is a seven-seat Tesla Model X rival with a combined 641bhp from its four-wheel-drive, twin-motor powertrain, and a WLTP-certified range of 310 miles. Prices will be confirmed in the coming months, ahead of customer deliveries beginning in September. 

Nio es8 norway

The ES8 will be followed in Europe in 2022 by Nio's 644bhp ET7 saloon, which claims a range of more than 621 miles with its largest battery pack, and features a raft of advanced autonomy functions. 

Most notably, Nio also intends to roll out its 'Power Swap' battery replacement service in the European market, which it claims "enables vehicle batteries to be automatically replaced within three minutes". Four stations are set to enter operation this year, with several more to follow in 2022, creating a battery swap network in five Norweigan cities. 

Nio battery swap 0


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Nio will also build a 'Supercharger' network in Norway, and will offer customers installation of a bespoke home charging device.

As Zhang explained to Autocar, Nio's European business model will centre around the same 'online-to-offline' (O2O) system it uses in China. Customers can place orders via a dedicated Nio app, while physical 'Nio House' centres will provide the brand with a physical presence in the market.

The first of these centres will open in the centre of Oslo in summer. It is described as "a special meeting place for Nio users and fans of the brand," and will incorporate conference rooms, a playground, a restaurant and other "experience spaces". Four more Nio House centres will open in Norway in 2022. 

Nio's second European market remains unconfirmed, but Zhang previously hinted that Germany's developed EV market and infrastructure could make that country a hospitable environment for the nascent Chinese brand.

The prospect of a UK launch remains on the cards, said Zhang: "The UK is an important country to NIO, and has always been referred to as a special place for our founder William Li. The brand was formally launched in London and Oxford and remains our centre for simulation and CAE."

He did, however, suggest that Nio's entry into the UK could be delayed: "The UK market is slowly waking up to the appeal of EVs and growth is dramatic in a market that collapsed due to COVID but in 2020, pure EVs were still just 6.6% of sales, just over 100,000 vehicles.

"We would only enter once conditions were right, we have the after sales and customer service infrastructure. The NIO houses, valet charging, NIO app are a key element of our offering in China so we have to consider what works in the UK. There are other considerations; the need for right hand drive requires additional engineering for a limited number of markets. We will continue to consider the benefits."


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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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xxxx 6 May 2021

Battery swaps, renault tried this years ago then realised what others knew, it was a no go. Of course since then batteries have improved massively and 25 minutes recharge time after 4 hours of driving is now possible, who knows what will be possible in another 10 years. Besides not really a problem for 90 percent of us who might only do a long journey a couple of times a year, beats queing at tesco once a week.

405line 6 May 2021

Battery swaps, that's the only way to make EVs practical, someone is thinking, I suggested this method of dealing with recharging batteries some months ago, rather than trying to "power blast" lipo cells in 20 minutes. With the market dominated by SUV (and that fact will help the startups as they will not have to do anything fancy with regard to handling,ride or dynamics) the only question that reamains curiously unanswered is how much less than legacy manufacturers vehicles will this sort of offering cost. Not certain where this will leave the legacy manufacturers especially the European manufacturers lead down the diesel garden path by "you know who".

Peter Cavellini 6 May 2021

The statement that, they'd consider RHD if they thought there'd be enough to demand for it,suggests we and others are a minority and should change to LHD ?, because it would be easier , for them?