Liao Bing, founder and CEO of GAC Nio released the price range of its first EV model Hycan 007 in Guangzhou on Friday, December 27, 2019. (Image credit: GAC Nio)

GAC Nio launched its first mass-market model Hycan 007 on Friday. This is the latest move from Chinese automakers to step up their EV offensive in rivalry with global giants. GAC Nio is a joint venture between Chinese OEM Guangdong Automotive Group (GAC) and electric vehicle startup Nio.

Why it matters: GAC and Nio joined forces with the establishment of an RMB 1.28 billion joint venture in April 2018. Both companies have a small presence in the EV market. They expect to change that with the joint venture.

  • The biggest automaker in southern China, GAC got off to a slow start in the EV race. It posted sales of 33,600 EVs as of November this year, a mere 3% of the country’s total sales of 1.04 million units, according to figures from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
  • The alliance also allows Nio, who remains positioning itself in the upper market, to tap into a wider, more mainstream market and diversify its revenues. Nio did not reveal the income from the business deals with GAC Nio.

Details: The Hycan 007 beats the Tesla Model X by 100 km with a New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) range of 643 km (400 miles). The batteries are supplied by CATL.

  • Priced at RMB 260,000 ($37,200) for a base model with a range of 523 km, the five-seater SUV features a roomy interior, a smart speaker, and Level 2 assisted driving capabilities, enabled by 24 sensors and cameras.
  • Nio helped with the development of car connectivity functions such as music streaming and online navigation services. Also, “one-click for power,” Nio’s valet charging service will be available to Hycan owners.
  • The company will start making cars at a new GAC plant with a production capacity of 200,000 vehicles per year in the southern Fanyu city. Still, it set a modest delivery target of 15,000 units for the next year, said CEO Liao Bing, a former executive at GAC’s research institute.
  • Delivery will begin in April 2020. They will be offered through a joint service network including Nio’s delivery centers, GAC’s dealer shops, and Hycan branded storefronts,
  • The company secured 1,000 pre-orders with refundable deposits in less than three days in a previous trial pre-sale in October, though no updated figures were provided.

Nio to handle deliveries of new Hycan SUV from GAC joint venture

Context: Before making an alliance with GAC, Nio struck a similar deal with another local automaker Changan in early 2017, followed by the set-up of a JV with equal shares in August 2018 in the eastern Chinese cities of Nanjing.

  • Little is known about this JV since the establishment. A Changan executive in August said Changan-Nio will take on the responsibility of making a luxury brand for the traditional automaker, according to Chinese media reports.

Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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