Prices for upgraded models and batteries are expected to go up, local media said.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

(NYSE: NIO, HKG: 9866) hinted during yesterday's earnings call that a facelift for existing models is coming, and now local media is offering a timeline.

Nio is expected to launch vehicles for the 2022 model year in late May with a major upgrade to the smart hardware, and the prices of the upgraded models and batteries are expected to increase, local media Cailian reported Friday night.

The upgrade includes bringing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8155 chip, a 360 surround-view camera and a 5G communication module that will significantly improve vehicle performance, the report said.

Nio will offer existing ES8, ES6 and EC6 customers a smart cockpit hardware retrofit upgrade at a reduced price, the report noted.

Nio reported its fourth-quarter earnings yesterday, and during a subsequent analyst call, William Li, the company's founder, chairman and CEO, reiterated that Nio will not increase the price of existing models at this time.

However, Li also mentioned that Nio has plans for product improvements this year and will consider product pricing strategies based on the price of raw materials.

Nio's 2022 ES8, ES6 and EC6 will achieve major upgrades with 8155 chips and 5G communication modules, as well as several other optimization improvements, and prices will be adjusted reasonably, he said.

Nio will also provide existing customers with post-installation upgrades for the hardware, Li added.

Cailian's latest report implies that not only is the price of the upgraded model likely to go up, but so is the battery. Nio's vehicles support battery swap, which allows users to purchase the entire vehicle, or they can purchase the body and rent the battery separately.

It is worth noting that Nio does not have a track record of frequent upgrades to its models, with the last upgraded model being in 2019.

At the Nio Day event on December 28, 2019, Nio announced the upgraded version of the ES8, bringing 188 upgrades, in addition to the release of the EC6.

The Nio ES8 was initially unveiled in December 2017 and deliveries in China began in June 2018.

Previously, dozens of Chinese electric vehicle makers announced price increase plans, and Nio is the only one of the well-known local car companies that did not raise prices on existing models.