Tesla is a famous company founded by billionaire genius Elon Musk. Elon Musk is the CEO and founder of multiple high-tech companies such as Tesla, SpaceX and Open AI.
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NIO vs Tesla
Firstly, we introduce the founder of NIO, Li Bin, as a comparison to Tesla’s Elon Musk. Li Bin was born in a poor cow farmer’s household in Anhui, China. His home did not have electricity until he was around 10 years old. His brilliance was noticed early in life, where he emerged the top scholar in the Anhui province in the Gaokao exams and entered the best university in China, Peking University. In Peking University, he majored in sociology, and minored in law and computer science.
Before NIO, Li Bin has founded or cofounded multiple successful companies, including:
- Bitauto (易车), a leading provider of internet content & marketing services, and transaction services for China’s automotive industry.
- MoBike, a bike sharing platform in China.
Under Li Bin, NIO is the only other EV company to follow Elon Musk’s tried and tested Master Plan:
Tesla’s “master plan”, as iterated by Musk in 2006 was: Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options.
The first step of Tesla’s “master plan” is to build a sports car. NIO has already built the EP9 car which is one of the world’s fastest supercar. It has broken multiple records, and can reach a top speed of 350 km/h.
True to the “Master Plan”, NIO has next built more affordable cars, such as the latest NIO EC6. The EC6 is a fully-electric mid-size luxury crossover SUV, just announced in late 2019 by NIO.
NIO vs Tesla China
NIO is initially aiming for a share in China’s enormous EV (Electric Vehicle) market, which is the world’s biggest market for EVs. Subsequently, it has plans to expand into Europe and the rest of the world.
NIO does not have its own factory currently (it has a joint factory with the state-owned JAC Motors in Hefei). This may change in the future. The JAC-NIO factory is impressive, and has up to 97.5% automation rate. Note that Apple also doesn’t have its own factory, hence not having a factory can’t be said to be a fatal flaw of NIO.
NIO Future Plan and Potential
NIO’s future plan is to produce more models of cars, including two sedans (ET5 and ET7), as well as a minivan (EF9) and another SUV (ES7).
NIO focuses a lot on good service, and provides several unique services, most notably BaaS (Battery as a Service). BaaS allows NIO cars to swap their batteries, which is currently much faster than charging. In addition, most Asian countries, including top tier cities in China, simply do not have enough space for a charging station for each household. Hence, BaaS will be a great differentiating factor which gives NIO an edge over its competitors.
As for NIO’s potential, just watch this video on top 30 most industrialized countries in the world. NIO is the premier high end electric vehicle manufacturer in China, and all signs are pointing to it having a great potential in the future (if things go smoothly).
A moat is a key competitive advantage that sets a company apart from its competitors. NIO’s first moat is its unique BaaS. Since a car’s model cannot easily change (due to the factories’ fixed specification), should BaaS battery swapping become the trend, NIO will be the sole company that provides it and will have at least a few years’ lead ahead of its competitors.
NIO’s second moat is its infrastructure and domestic home ground advantage. NIO’s autonomous driving system is naturally trained in China’s traffic conditions. Even in the event of slightly inferior autonomous driving technology (which is still highly debatable), the end result would still be better than a top driving system trained in another country’s very different traffic conditions, including different driver behavior and different road signs.
NIO backed by government
Many signs have shown directly or indirectly that NIO is backed by the government. Firstly, JAC Motors with whom NIO has a joint factory with, is a Chinese state-owned automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturer.
Secondly, NIO is the first car company to cooperate with State Grid EV service to build 100 charging and battery swap stations by 2021. This is good news for NIO since the State Grid EV being owned by the State/government has good potential to select excellent locations for the battery swap stations which will further strengthen’s NIO’s BaaS network.