Hosted by China Electric Vehicle Hundredrumsand, and co-organized by Tsinghua University, China Society of Automotive Engineers, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China Automotive Technology and Research Center, and China Automotive Engineering Research Institute, the Chinese Electric Vehicle Hundredrumsand Forum (2023) opened in Beijing.
The forum has invited representatives from government departments, and industry organizations and leading enterprises in the fields of automotive, energy, transportation, urban, communication, and others to engage in in-depth discussions on various topics, such as the global automotive industry development, the high-quality development path of new energy vehicles, the development strategy of China’s intelligent connected vehicles, the development trend of the supply chain of core industry chains such as power batteries, the changing trend of a new generation of automobile consumption, the co-development strategy of automobiles and energy, the new type of transportation energy security system, the transformation of commercial vehicles, the innovative path of the automotive aftermarket, and the digitalization and intelligent manufacturing model of automobiles.
At the 2023 Chinese Electric Vehicle Hundredrumsand Forum · High-level Forum, Li Bin mentioned the following key points in his speech:
- NIO’s delivery situation in 2021: A total of 122,486 high-end intelligent electric vehicles were delivered, with an average terminal price reaching ¥437,000, demonstrating the rise of Chinese automobile brands. The market share of high-end pure electric vehicles above ¥300,000 reached 54.8%, and that of high-end pure electric vehicles above ¥400,000 reached 75%.
- NIO’s investment in core technology R&D: R&D investment in the fourth quarter of 2021 was about ¥4 billion, with an annual R&D investment of ¥10.8 billion and a revenue close to ¥50 billion. NIO has established over ten R&D centers in the United States, Europe, and China, with more than 10,000 R&D personnel and obtained more than 6,000 patents.
- NIO’s progress in building charging and battery replacement infrastructure: By 2025, NIO will establish a high-speed battery replacement network in 19 major city clusters along nine vertical and nine horizontal routes globally, and will deploy more than 1,000 battery replacement stations and 10,000 new charging poles nationwide this year. NIO has already installed over 180,000 charging poles and 1,326 battery replacement stations.
- NIO’s global market expansion plan: The market has been expanded in countries such as Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, and plans to provide services in more countries. NIO has already reached first and second place in market share in the Norwegian niche market.
- Challenges and decisions faced by NIO: As a start-up company, NIO has chosen to persistently invest in the long term in three areas: core technology R&D, charging and battery replacement infrastructure construction, and global market expansion when facing uncertainties and difficult choices, in anticipation of future success.The following is the original speech:
Respected Chairman Wan, President Qingtai, Minister Miao, leaders, guests, I am delighted to have the opportunity to share some of the latest ideas from NIO.
Last year, we delivered a total of 122,486 high-end intelligent electric vehicles, which is not a significantly large number compared to our peers, such as BYD. However, our average delivery terminal price reached 437,000 yuan last year, and one could say that every NIO vehicle bears witness to the upward journey of China’s automobile brands. In last year’s fourth quarter, our market share in the high-end pure electric market above 300,000 yuan reached 54.8%, and that in the high-end pure electric market above 400,000 yuan reached 75%, so our market share is acceptable. Indeed, today, everyone in the industry is facing many difficult choices as the industry’s uncertainty is enormous, including the pace of industrial development during the transition from gasoline to electric vehicles. I believe many of us, including myself, are troubled by this and confronted with difficult decisions.
NIO is a start-up company. In fact, we cannot afford to slow down and think too much. While ensuring that business risks are controllable and efficiency is improved, we still believe that we must resolutely invest for eventual success. This is something we have thought through. We mainly invest in three areas:
First, continuous investment in core technology research and development.
Last year, NIO indeed lost some money, but if we look at where we lost it, I still want to tell everyone that we mainly lost it in R&D. However, R&D spending, in my opinion, is an investment. Since its founding in 2015, NIO has maintained a global research footprint. Even when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2019, we did not close our European offices or Silicon Valley offices. At present, we have established over 10 R&D centers in the United States, Europe, and China. Last year, our R&D investment in the fourth quarter was close to 4 billion yuan, and our annual R&D investment reached 10.8 billion yuan. Last year, our total income was almost 50 billion yuan, so the R&D income ratio was high. Moreover, our R&D investment will further increase this year. We are now focusing on full-stack capabilities for intelligent electric vehicles, including chips, underlying operating systems, materials, and battery cells. Of course, we know that since day one, NIO has never reverse-engineered anything from anyone else. We built our cars from scratch, starting with a single line, and developed the three-electric systems, three-intelligence systems, and all-aluminum body ourselves since 2015, which has been our tradition.With more than 10,000 R&D employees, we are still hiring nearly 2,000 new graduates this year for long-term training. We have already obtained over 6,000 patents, covering the entire range of intelligent electric vehicle technology. We are thrilled to have won the Chinese First-Class Automotive Award for two consecutive years in 2021 and 2022, which affirms our accomplishments.
Not only in China, but our ET7 also claimed the most prestigious automotive awards in almost every European country last year. For instance, we won Germany’s highly-esteemed “Golden Steering Wheel” Award – the highest accolade for mid-to-large sedans – marking the first time a Chinese brand received such recognition in Germany and testifying to our brand’s upward journey.
Second, we are determined to invest in building charging and battery-swapping infrastructure.
As the infrastructure of charging and battery-swapping is the most crucial factor in determining the user experience of electric vehicles. Since our R&D began in 2015, we have developed a service system that is chargeable, swappable, and upgradable. We have installed over 180,000 charging piles for users, including over 14,000 public ones, which are available to numerous vehicle brands. Furthermore, we have access to over one million third-party charging piles globally, partnering with the most prominent local charging pile companies in China and Europe. A few days ago, we installed a 500kW ultra-fast charging pile, capable of reaching 650kW, which can significantly improve efficiency when combined with our battery-swapping stations. We mainly focus on integrated charging and swapping stations, with 52 destination-charging routes deployed nationwide, including some in extreme environments such as Mount Everest Base Camp and the Duku Highway. This year, we plan to add more than 20 new routes.
We have built 1,326 battery-swapping stations across China, including one in Lhasa, as depicted. In Europe, 13 stations have been deployed across five countries, gaining recognition. A few days ago, we launched our third-generation swapping station in Hainan, which has become the preferred charging method among NIO users. On February 14, 2022, the power usage from battery swaps first surpassed that of traditional charging, achieving 60% of usage. With nearly 20 million swaps completed (soon), a fully charged NIO vehicle leaves our swapping stations every 1.9 seconds on average. There are numerous benefits to battery swapping, and we have built a battery-swapping network covering five vertical, three horizontal, and eight major city clusters. By 2025, we aim to expand to nine vertical and nine horizontal connections across 19 city clusters, offering worry-free high-speed travel.This year, we have built more than 1,000 battery swap stations, and by the end of the year, the total number will exceed 2,300. Moreover, we will add 10,000 charging piles, making us the most proactive automaker in China in terms of charging infrastructure deployment. Not only are we excelling in battery swap stations, but our charging capabilities are also well-developed. Thus, we are firmly committed to infrastructure construction.
Thirdly, resolutely entering the global market to serve more users.
On September 30, 2021, we began deliveries in Norway. Many Chinese automakers also started deliveries in Norway, and we have ranked first or second in market share in our segment. On October 7, last year, we officially announced our entry into Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden in Europe. We held a launch event in Berlin, which was attended by over 1,000 guests and received broad recognition. On October 16, last year, we officially began deliveries in the four European countries. In fact, just a few days ago, we opened our Frankfurt NIO House, following the opening of our Berlin and Rotterdam NIO Houses. Today, our infrastructure is keeping pace.
In summary, we are indeed in a particularly challenging period, yet NIO remains committed to making long-term investments in the right endeavors. We believe that such investments will eventually yield good results. The image here, taken by a Dutch photographer, symbolizes a horizon of hope. The development of intelligent electric vehicles is a difficult journey, but with perseverance, we can achieve a promising future. Let us embrace a bright future together. Thank you.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.