Nio has developed a 150-kwh battery that could boost the range of electric vehicles substantially higher than what current range kings like the Lucid Air can deliver.
The Chinese electric car company announced on Tuesday the successful test of its new Ultra Long Range battery, which allowed Chairman William Li to cover 1,044 km (approximately 648.7 miles) behind the wheel of a Nio ET7 midsize sedan. The EPA-rated range for the Lucid Air tops out at 516 miles.
In the real-world test, Li and two others drove from Shanghai to Xiamen, in temperatures that during some parts of the journey were below freezing, a factor that normally harms a battery's range.
The journey took roughly 14 hours to complete and used up 97% of the battery's charge, according to Nio.
Nio CEO and founder William Li with the 2022 ET7
The battery uses a cell-to-pack design that mounts the cells directly into separate groups within the pack, rather than into modules first. Nio said the cells have the highest energy density (up to 360 wh/kg) for a mass produced Chinese production car.
Nio said the battery is designed to fit all of its models, and is already available at some of its battery-swapping stations in China. Nio said a customer could opt for the Ultra Long Range battery when planning a long road trip, and then revert to a smaller and lighter battery for normal driving duties. Nio makes it easy for customers to change batteries via flexible options for upgrading the packs when needed.
The news comes the same week that Nio President Lihong Qin said the company plans to launch two additional brands focused on vehicles more affordable than those sold by the current Nio brand. The first, dubbed Firefly, is due to launch in Europe as soon as 2025.
Nio was once billed as China's Tesla, but its sales have been hurt by Tesla's recent round of price cuts. Nio's sales in 2023 are on track to reach just over 150,000 units, whereas Tesla is on track to reach more than 10 times that figure. To raise capital, the company has been issuing new shares. The most recent issue took place this week and saw Abu Dhabi-based CYVN Holdings purchase $2.2 billion worth of shares. CYVN's stake in Nio has now grown to about 20%, following the latest investment plus a previous $1 billion investment in July.