Nio launched its first electric sedan as Tesla introduces a Chinese-made SUV

CHENGDU, CHINA / SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese electric car maker New Inc launched its first sedan model on Saturday, targeting a bigger share in the world’s largest auto market.

The launch of the ET7, at an event in the western city of Chengdu, came just as rival Tesla started selling its Chinese-made Model Y SUV in the Chinese market.

Nio aims to expand its product lineup to attract more customers. In the Chinese passenger car market, both sedans and SUVs make up about 46% of the total sales.

CEO William Lee said Nio’s new battery technology will give ET7 a driving range of over 1,000 km (621 mi) between charges.

The starting price will start at 378,000 yuan ($ 58,378) for a car without a battery, one of the most expensive components of an electric vehicle, which can then be leased from the company. With the battery pack, the price starts at 448,000 yuan.

He told me that ET7 will be equipped with lidar sensors – which help the car perceive its surroundings, and are often found in self-driving cars – to assist drivers, a technology that outspoken Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk has rejected.

The California auto maker, which sells its Shanghai-made 3 Concept sedans, has just started selling its Model Y cars with a starting price of 339,900 yuan. Cameras are used to assist the driver.

Nio, which delivered 43,728 cars last year, has a market capitalization of more than $ 92 billion, surpassing the traditional automakers Daimler AG and General Motors Co. Investors have poured billions of dollars into developing electric cars.

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It currently sells three models of SUVs that were built at a car plant in Hefei, east China.

Nio’s competitor Xpeng Inc said on social media on Thursday that it plans to launch a new sedan model. It currently has a sedan and an SUV in its lineup.

(Reporting by Lily Sun and Brenda Goh) Editing by Mike Harrison and Jan Harvey

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