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Nio Day Showcases ET5, New Tesla Model 3 EV Rival, As Nio Stock Needs Jumpstart


Nio (NIO) on Saturday unveiled its newest electric vehicle — the midsized ET5 sedan — that could threaten the Tesla (TSLA) Model 3 in China, while kick-starting Nio stock back to life.




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As expected, the Chinese EV startup on Saturday unveiled the ET5, starting presales at $51,450 before government subsidies, or $40,470 with a battery subscription plan. ET5 deliveries will begin in September 2022. The ET5 has a range of 550 kilometers with the standard battery pack, or 341 miles.

The ET5 is more affordable than its existing lineup of three premium electric SUVs, as well as the upcoming ET7 sedan, are priced in the 350,000-500,000 RMB (about $55,000 to $78,500) range. Both the ET5 and the ET7, which have a similar design, boast Lidar for driver-assist systems.

Ahead of Nio Day 2021, Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu predicted that the ET5 will be Nio’s most affordable and “highest volume” electric vehicle yet. By 2023, he expects the ET5 to outsell its larger counterpart, estimating 65,000 deliveries that year vs. 60,000 for the ET7.

In his Dec. 15 note, Yu sees the ET5 taking on rivals in the mid-size premium segment.  That includes the Tesla Model 3 in China, as well as the BMW 3 series and Audi A4. The made-in-Shanghai Tesla Model 3 starts at $40,100, after subsidies.

ET7 Deliveries In March

Nio also will begin deliveries of the upscale ET7 sedan, unveiled at Nio Day 2020, on March 28, 2022. The ET7 has a range of just over 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles. That’s according to China’s loose standard. But that still suggests the Nio ET7 will have a range rivaling the Lucid Air, which has an EPA-rated range of up 520 miles.

The ET7 is seen challenging Tesla’s Model S in China. Model S sales in China and Europe have been negligible this year, with limited production following a refresh. Elon Musk says he aims to bring the Model S Plaid to China in 2022.

Nio also expects to be selling EVs in 25 countries by 2025. Along with Xpeng (XPEV) and BYD (BYDDF), Nio has recently started selling some EVs in Norway, a likely launching pad throughout Europe.

Nio hasn’t launched a new product in well over a year, is in need of a product refresh, analysts say.


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Nio Stock, EV Stocks

Shares of Nio fell 0.2% to 30 in Friday’s stock market trading, after undercutting May’s lows intraday. The relative strength line for once-hot Nio stock is lagging. Among other EV stocks, Tesla rose 0.6% and BYD (BYDDF) was off 2.8%. Among startup peers, Xpeng (XPEV) fell 1.2% and Li Auto (LI) dipped 0.2%. Investors are bracing for the delisting of China stocks from U.S. exchanges.

For Nio, the ET5 could open up the low end of the premium Chinese car market. As for the flagship, highly autonomous ET7, Yu believes it’s ready to launch after a well-received reveal in January, starting around 440,000 RMB.

“We expect further details on the ET7 ahead of Q1 2022 customer deliveries” at Nio Day, Yu wrote in his Wednesday note.

At Nio Day 2021, Yu also expects more details on hybrid solid-state batteries and next-gen autonomous driving systems. He’s also looking for more on the Chinese EV startup’s expansion in Europe.

In September, Nio entered the international market with the launch of its ES8 SUV in Norway. The ET7 sedan will follow in Germany in 2022. Tesla leads the European market for electric cars.

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