Elon Musk recently said that Tesla’s biggest competition will come from a Chinese automaker as they ‘work hardest, smartest’ and even before the affordable Model 2 is announced, NIO already has direct competitors in mind. NIO has now picked sites for both the US$15,000 Firefly and US$25,000 ALPS EVs.
Tesla will have a veritable competition on its hands whenever it manages to launch its cheap mass market Model 2 which it said is a priority in this current 5-year period than ends in 2026. Not only do the Chinese automakers, which Elon Musk dubbed to be the biggest threat to Tesla’s dominance, intend to enter the market for budget electric cars, too, but they might do so earlier than Tesla.
NIO, for instance, has reportedly already marked the sites for two factories that will be producing the vehicles in its newly minted budget Firefly and midrange ALPS brands. The Firefly sedan price is to start from just about US$15,000 and will be meant for export, while the ALPS EV will be targeting the Model 2 directly with a sub-$25,000 price tag before eventual subsidies.
Little is known about the exact specs and dimensions of NIO’s budget electric vehicles, but the F4 plant in Chuzhou that will assemble NIO’s cheapest electric car will start producing it in Q3 of 2024 for export directly to Europe where NIO already has a multi-model presence. The F3 factory that will be making the Model 2 competitor with the ALPS tag will be near NIO’s current production hub in Hefei province and will start churning out cars next year as well.
Even the rumored March timing of the plants’ ribbon-cutting ceremony coincides with Tesla’s 2023 Investor Day when it will be unveiling its next generation vehicle platform that could only mean it will detail the Model 2, or whatever it decides to call it. Tesla’s head of design is on record claiming that the main goal before Elon Musk’s automaker now is “mass electrification,” and even the Roadster 2 release may be delayed in favor of the Model 2. Apparently, Tesla really intends to speed up the development of its smaller and cheaper EV before its Chinese competitors have cornered too much of the market share in the category.
Daniel Zlatev – Tech Writer – 576 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2021
Wooed by tech since the industrial espionage of Apple computers and the times of pixelized Nintendos, Daniel went and opened a gaming club when personal computers and consoles were still an expensive rarity. Nowadays, fascination is not with specs and speed but rather the lifestyle that computers in our pocket, house, and car have shoehorned us in, from the infinite scroll and the privacy hazards to authenticating every bit and move of our existence.
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-01-31 (Update: 2023-01-31)