No one has really thought about how to design a phone around a car before, Li said.

(A phone suspected to be the phone that was seen at the launch of Nio's new EC6 on September 15.)

Nio's (NYSE: NIO) phone will be the world's first to be truly designed for cars, something that has no precedent before, said William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of the electric vehicle (EV) company.

The Nio phone will be a high-end flagship handset that will have the Nio design style, Li said in an interview with local automotive media outlet Cheyun, according to the text of the interview released yesterday.

"The screen may be difficult to innovate, but the whole ID (Industrial Design) definitely has the Nio style. More importantly, I believe it's the first phone in the world that's really and truly designed for cars," Li said in the interview.

"The idea of how to design a phone around cars is something that no one has really thought about before," he added.

Li said that the Nio phone has some innovations in terms of interaction with Nio vehicles and it is definitely a phone designed for Nio owners.

"Of course, it's also a very good flagship phone for users other than Nio owners. But as its primary purpose, it is designed for Nio car users," he said.

Nio phone is actually an attempt at connectivity with the car in mind, which is a good subject, he said.

"I remember many years ago a fellow car company launched a car key that was very much like a phone, and I think it is worthwhile to innovate in this regard," he said.

Nio is expected to launch its first phone model on September 21. The device's manufacturer is Hunan-based Lens Technology, which has long supplied Apple with lenses and related glass components for devices such as the iPhone, according to a China Compulsory Certificate (CCC).

Nio launched the new EC6 in a less than 16-minute launch event on September 15, and a phone appeared several times in the first 50 seconds, raising suspicions that this could be the first phone model it will be releasing.

The phone appears to use a curved screen with extremely narrow left and right bezels as well as top and bottom bezels. The device supports on-screen fingerprint unlocking, a feature that comes with many high-end Android-powered models.

In his latest interview, Li emphasized that people should not expect too much from the Nio phone, after all it is its first smartphone.

"We first need to get its basic experience right, including power saving, stability, and smoothness of operation," he said.

Nio doesn't need to make money by inserting advertisements in its mobile system, and it won't make money that way, so there's plenty of room for optimization in that regard, he said.

Nio phone has some innovations in connectivity with Nio vehicles, and there are some experiences that are pretty well done, he said.

However, he also cautioned that there are some experiences that need time to be optimized and overall it is still able to meet his own expectations.

"Though it might still be a bit short of people's expectations, we're taking it one step further at a time," he said.

Li also hinted that the Nio phone will be priced about the same as the mainstream Android flagship phones currently available in the Chinese market.

"It will have the cost of a high-end flagship device, we can't sell it at a loss, it is a flagship Android phone," he said.

The most talked about local smartphone in China recently has been 's Mate 60 series, which starts at RMB 5,499 ($760) for the regular Mate 60 and RMB 6,499 for the Mate 60 Pro.

(Huawei Mate 60. Image from Huawei website)

($1 = RMB 7.2749)

This could be Nio phone to be launched on Sept 21