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Chinese electric car brand NIO is coming to the UK

NIO to bring battery swap technology to the UK in 2023, along with three new pure-electric models: ET5, ET7 and EL7

NIO ET5 side

Chinese electric car maker NIO will launch three new cars in the UK in 2023, bringing its innovative Power Swap stations with it. The maker thinks its battery swapping technology could be a game changer for EV sceptics hesitant to make the switch – allowing owners to drive away with a full battery in less than five minutes.

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NIO has established itself as a serious rival to Tesla in China, with a range of electric cars including the ET7 and ES8 that compete against the Tesla Model S and Model X respectively. The manufacturer already sells cars in Norway and other European markets, with its sights set on the UK in 2023. It has two swap stations live on mainland Europe, with a total of 20 due before the end of the year.

Hui Zhang, NIO’s European Vice President, previously said: “The UK has always been an important country to NIO, and is 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 computer aided engineering."

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It's unclear whether the flagship ES8 will be available in the UK. However, it's likely newer models like the ET7 and ET5 saloons, as well as the smaller ES5 SUV will be sold here. Prices haven't been announced, but battery sizes will range from 75kWh to 150kWh.

NIO ET7 electric saloon

NIO model range

The ES8 is already on sale in Norway; a premium large electric SUV to rival for the Jaguar i-Pace, Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron. The ES8 uses a 100kWh battery pack for an estimated range of 310 miles, and can do 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds thanks to an all-wheel drive, dual-motor setup that produces a combined 537bhp. It's unclear whether this car will be available in the UK.

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The ES8 will be followed up by the ET7 saloon, which will compete against the Tesla Model S, as well as the Mercedes EQE and EQS. The ET7 produces 644bhp and is available with a whopping 150kWh battery, for a claimed 621-mile range on the NEDC cycle. The NEDC cycle has now been replaced with the WLTP cycle in Europe but the car’s figures on that measure are not yet available.

A smaller ET5 saloon has also been revealed, alongside the ES5 SUV. The latter is a rival for smaller electric SUVs like the Volvo XC40 Recharge and BMW iX1. There is no word at this stage on whether NIO’s EC6 SUV or ES6 coupe-SUV will be available in Europe. 

NIO Battery Swap Technology

NIO battery swap technology

In support of its electric cars, NIO is also introducing its innovative Power Swap stations in Europe. Instead of plugging-in and waiting for your car to charge, these stations allow NIO owners to pull into a pod where the battery is replaced with a freshly charged unit in just five minutes. The first two European Power Swap stations are already open: one near Oslo in Norway and the other between Munich and Stuttgart, Germany.

NIO is planning a total of 20 Power Swap stations in Europe by the end of 2022, with a target of 120 in operation the following year. Each site also hosts normal rapid chargers, capable of speeds of up to 180kW.

NIO will complete car sales entirely through its app or website. In place of traditional dealerships, the brand will open a series of what it calls a ‘NIO House’. The first is in the centre of Oslo, with more planned across Europe.

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Welcome one and all, I’m Ellis the news reporter on Auto Express, the brand’s former online reviews editor and contributor to DrivingElectric. I’m proud to say I cut my teeth reporting and reviewing all things EV as the content editor on DrivingElectric. I joined the team while completing my master’s degree in automotive journalism at Coventry University and since then I’ve driven just about every electric car and hybrid I could get my hands on.

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