This is the first time that spy shots of an Alps model have been revealed since confirmed in August 2021 that it will enter the mass market through a sub-brand.

(Image credit: Car blogger @德卤爱开车 on Weibo)

An automotive blogger has shared several spy shots of what is allegedly a model of Nio's (NYSE: NIO) sub-brand Alps on Weibo, marking the first time the sub-brand's model has been spied on since the electric vehicle (EV) maker confirmed it would enter the mass market two years ago.

Car blogger @德卤爱开车 shared 12 images on Weibo yesterday evening showing a model tightly wrapped in camouflage.

The car is apparently a Nio vehicle as its interiors are in line with the Nio ET7, albeit still in the early stages of engineering, according to the blogger.

As with most new model spy shots when they are first revealed, the blogger couldn't 100 percent tell if the model is from a sub-brand of Nio, but said that the chances of it being an Alps model are high.

The first impression of the model is that it is a sedan, but there is something of a crossover feel when it is on the move, hence the previous rumors of the model being a sedan and others calling it an SUV, the blogger noted.

It doesn't have a LiDAR on the roof, but has binocular cameras under the windshield, according to the blogger, who added that its smart driving chip will supposedly come from a local Chinese supplier.

Nio confirmed in August 2021 that it will enter the mass market through a new brand and has already established a core team. In subsequent external communications, Nio management mentioned that the sub-brand's internal codename is Alps.

Local media outlet 36kr reported in July 2021 that in late 2020, Nio began to consider launching a sub-brand, and the project name was first called "TV," an acronym for Toyota and Volkswagen. However, Nio later changed the name of the project to Alps to avoid unnecessary trouble.

Toyota and Volkswagen are the world's most profitable and highest-selling automakers, respectively, and the Alps are Europe's tallest and most extensive mountain range, 36kr noted in the previous report.

In February, local media outlet Jiemian reported that Alps will have a new sales channel, with the number of planned models expected to be half that of the Nio brand.

Alps is targeting the mainstream market in the RMB 200,000 ($27,480) to 300,000 yuan range, and the vehicles will be built on the NT 3.0 platform, support high-voltage fast charging, and will be mass-produced and delivered in the second half of 2024, according to Jiemian.

On July 25, 36kr reported that Nio is adding single-motor options to the Alps' first model, and the project was set up only recently.

The Alps will be Nio's main entry into the mass market, and the addition of single-motor models will significantly improve the brand's strategic flexibility, the report said.

Alps' first model will be a sedan, and its single-motor version will be powered by a new generation of motors that Nio develops and produces in-house, primarily for size and cost optimization reasons, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

In addition to single motor options, the first model of Alps' first 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, 36kr said.

($1 = RMB 7.2773)

Nio to offer single-motor model in sub-brand codenamed Alps, report says