Alps is one of Nio's most important cards for next year, and the EV maker is equipping it with a more flexible business strategy, as well as pouring almost all of its cutting-edge technology into it, local media said.
(Image credit: CnEVPost)
Nio (NYSE: NIO) will add a single-motor option to the first model of the sub-brand codenamed Alps, and the decision was made just recently, according to a report from 36kr.
Alps will primarily target the market priced at RMB 200,000 ($27,980) - RMB 300,000, the mainstay of Nio's push into the mass market, and the addition of a single-motor model will significantly boost the brand's strategic flexibility, the report said.
Alps' first model will be a sedan, and its single-motor version will feature a new generation of motors that Nio develops and produces in-house, mainly for size and cost optimization reasons, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.
In addition to single-motor, Alps' debut model will be the first to use Nio's next-generation technology platform, NT 3.0, which will be based on an 800 V high-voltage architecture to further enhance the battery swap and ultra-fast charging experience, the report said.
Alps has planned two versions of the battery pack for the first model, around 60 kWh and 90 kWh, and they will be compatible with Nio's third-generation battery swap stations, but will be thinner to make more room in the vehicle's cockpit, according to the report.
The Nio brand has been sticking with dual motors, while the slightly lower-positioned Alps was initially planned to have only a dual-motor version, the report noted.
But more realistically, an additional motor would cost thousands of RMB more, which would result in a higher selling price for the vehicle, limiting the room for sales, the report said.
The icebreaker that allowed Nio to plan for a single-motor version in the Alps model was the company's price cut on June 12, shortly after which Alps set up a single-motor program, 36kr said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Nio brand had also evaluated the possibility of single-motor versions, but that would have required secondary development on already-produced models, which would have been costly, so it was not taken up, the report said, citing a person close to Nio.
In contrast, the Alps, which is still in the development stage, has more flexibility to pivot, the person said.
The Alps is one of Nio's most important cards for next year, and the electric vehicle maker has equipped it with a more flexible business strategy, as well as pouring almost all of its cutting-edge technology into it, according to the report.
The NT 3.0 will be built on the 800 V high-voltage platform, and will also feature a new layout in terms of smart driving hardware and cabin configuration, according to the report.
This new platform will also feature a more centralized electrical and electronic architecture with further intelligence, the report added.
Nio confirmed in August 2021 that it will enter the mass market through a sub-brands, and said in subsequent communications that it has two sub-brands, internally codenamed Alps and Firefly.
Alps will have a completely new channel and the number of planned models is expected to be half that of the Nio brand, Jiemian said in a February 22 report.
Alps' vehicles will be built on the NT 3.0 platform, support high-voltage fast charging, and will be ready for mass production and delivery in the second half of 2024, according to Jiemian.
The entire lineup of Alps will be built on the 800 V platform, Nio Power vice president Shen Fei said at an owner communication held February 27 in Changzhou, Jiangsu province.
The entire Alps lineup will be based on the 800 V program, and Nio's third-generation battery swap stations will need to reserve a portion of their bays for 800 V packs, Shen said.
As for exactly how many third-generation battery swap stations will be allocated to Alps and how many will be dedicated to the sub-brand, there is no exact information at this time, according to Shen.
The exact number and decisions will depend on the dynamics of sales, and Nio has prepared several scenarios, Shen said at the time.
In addition to Alps, Nio's other sub-brand Firefly, which targets the lower-mid-range market, also appears to be making new headway.
Firefly's first model saw a design freeze at the end of June and is expected to enter the mold development phase in early August, local media outlet Auto Pix reported on July 21.
This means that the Firefly project will go ahead, much to the relief of nearly 1,000 employees, the report said, citing a member of the project's management, adding that there were previous concerns about the project being canceled.
($ 1 = RMB 7.1482)