The HiPhi Y is HiPhi's key effort to enter the mainstream premium EV market, targeting the segment where the ES6 is present.

(Image credit: HiPhi)

Chinese premium electric vehicle (EV) maker Human Horizons' HiPhi brand has begun delivery of the HiPhi Y in China, with the lower-priced electric SUV expected to be the brand's main sales driver going forward.

HiPhi delivered the HiPhi Y to its first owners in 21 cities on July 29, according to a Weibo post by the company.

HiPhi launched the HiPhi Y on July 15, the company's third model after the ultra-luxurious HiPhi X and HiPhi Z, and its least expensive to date.

The model is currently available in four variants with starting prices of RMB 339,000 ($47,460), RMB 369,000, RMB 399,000 and RMB 449,000 respectively.

For comparison, the HiPhi X starts at RMB 570,000 and the HiPhi Z at RMB 610,000.

HiPhi's product launch strategy is somewhat similar to that of its local counterpart Nio (NYSE: NIO), which started with a higher-priced model and followed it up with lower-priced models aimed at a wider market.

Nio's first production model was the first-generation ES8, and the latest version of the SUV remains its flagship model and the most expensive in its lineup.

After Nio launched the ES6, the less expensive SUV contributed to nearly half of Nio's sales for a long time.

The HiPhi Y is aiming at the same market segment as Nio's new ES6, based on the NT 2.0 platform, which was launched by Nio at the end of May. And the HiPhi Y's pricing has already been influenced by that Nio model.

HiPhi had originally considered setting the starting price of the HiPhi Y at RMB 369,000, which is RMB 1,000 higher than the starting price of the new Nio ES6 at launch.

However, on June 12, Nio removed the free battery swap entitlement from its vehicles' prices, thereby lowering the starting prices of all new models by RMB 30,000, making the starting price of the new ES6 RMB 338,000 yuan.

When HiPhi launched the HiPhi Y on July 15, it set the SUV's starting price at RMB 339,000, RMB 1,000 higher than the adjusted price of the new ES6.

The HiPhi Y measures 4,938 mm in length, 1,958 mm in width and 1,658 mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2,950 mm, and is available in both single-motor and dual-motor versions.

For comparison, the Nio ES6 measures 4,854 mm in length, 1,995 mm in width and 1,703 mm in height, and has a wheelbase of 2,915 mm. The ES6 comes standard with dual motors.

As the lowest-priced model launched by HiPhi to date, the HiPhi Y is expected to help the company enter the mainstream premium EV market.

On July 24, HiPhi's brand and communications manager Xu Bin said in a Weibo post that the HiPhi Y had received 2,000 firm orders and more than 50,000 purchase intentions about one week after launch.

The number of available test drives of the model in showrooms was very tight, and HiPhi was accelerating the process of making test drives available in stores to schedule more test drives and increase the conversion rate of orders for the HiPhi Y, Xu said at the time.

($1 = RMB 7.1423)

HiPhi launches HiPhi Y with starting price almost same as Nio ES6 to target mainstream premium EV market