Chinese electric car startup NextEV in November launched the new brand Nio whose first model, the 1,360-horsepower EP9 supercar, is already one of the fastest production cars in the world, having lapped the Nürburgring in just 7:05.12.
But the EP9 is a limited edition model for multimillionaires, which NextEV admits was primarily built to help draw attention to its new brand Nio and highlight the link with the company’s successful Formula E team. It will be sold exclusively in China.
In contrast, future models from Nio will compete in high-volume segments, and they will be sold in the United States.
Speaking with Automotive News (subscription required), NextEV co-founder Jack Cheng said the U.S. will be the first market outside of China that Nio cars will be sold in. And the first volume model due will be an electric SUV to rival the Tesla Model X and similar offerings due soon from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
The ace up NextEV’s sleeve will be sharp pricing, Cheng said.
“It’ll be positioned at Audi and BMW but with a Toyota price,” Cheng said of the SUV. He also described its performance as being “as good as or better than the Tesla [Model X].”
The SUV is said to be launching with a 70-kilowatt-hour battery. The closest comparison is Tesla’s Model X 75D which has a 75-kwh battery and 237-mile EPA-rated range.
NextEV is hoping to start sales in the U.S. by late 2018 or early the following year. Production will take place in China.