BEIJING/SHANGHAI -- Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio hopes to enter international markets from the second half of next year starting with selected European countries, CEO William Li said.
Li said the company aimed to enter other markets from 2022.
Nio President Lihong Qin told Automotive News Europe in June that the automaker could launch in some European countries in one to two years, but said the company first had its eye on more accessible markets such Asian countries around China.
Separately, Nio said it has launched a battery leasing service that will allow drivers to buy an EV without owning the battery pack -- one of the most expensive EV components -- thereby lowering the starting price of its cars.
The option, which Nio calls "battery as a service," or BaaS, entails drivers paying a monthly rental fee for use of the batteries.
The cheapest Nio car after subsidies is now an ES6 SUV priced 273,600 yuan ($39,553) without ownership of the battery pack, versus 343,600 yuan including the pack.
"We believe with BaaS, more customers of gasoline cars will consider electric vehicles," Li said.
Nio operates 143 battery-swapping stations around China, where drivers can swap spent battery packs for fully charged replacements. Li said Nio was building a new battery-swapping station in China every week and planned to build 300 new stations next year.
China's industry ministry has said it would promote the adoption of vehicles with batteries that can be swapped between different makes and models.
To that end, Nio's battery packs are the same shape and size across its lineup, which includes three SUVs. Electric models from peer BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology also have standardized batteries.
The batteries for Nio's leasing service will be supplied by a company established by Chinese battery makers including leader Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. known as CATL. The company has registered capital of 800 million yuan, a government filing showed.