Nio names new mass-market EV brand Onvo ahead of May launch

Nio CEO William Li has confirmed the Onvo name for the Chinese EV maker’s new volume market sub-brand, ahead of its launch in May.

The Onvo brand is an extension to the Nio portfolio, targeted at more price-conscious family car buyers.

Its first model is set to be a Tesla Model Y rival, planned for delivery to Chinese customers by the end of 2024.

The Onvo name – Ledao in Chinese – was trademarked by Nio in 2022. Up to now, Nio has referenced its new brand as Alps – an internal working title used during its inception and the development of its debut car, the L60.

“The name was chosen carefully and Nio finalised the English and Chinese names in the second half of 2023,” said Li.

He stressed that Onvo is a “mass-market brand” but “not a low-to-mid range brand”.

Earlier this month, Li said the first Onvo would be cheaper than the Model Y and support Nio’s patented battery-swapping technology.

Confirmation of the name comes after spy photos showing a prototype of its first model, the L60, were leaked to Chinese media channels.

At this early stage, there is no official word on whether the Onvo brand will be exported to the UK. 

Nio has regularly indicated a desire to enter the UK market following its entry to other European countries, but a date for its arrival has yet to be announced. 

In a recent interview with Autocar, the head of Nio’s UK-based engineering centre in Oxfordshire, Danilo Teobaldi, said work was under way to ensure future models would meet the expectations of potential UK buyers, confirming they would feature unique suspension tuning and other changes for sale outside of China. 

Onvo is one of two new brands being primed for launch by Nio. The other, known under the internal working title Firefly, has been conceived primarily for Europe.

Firefly is planned to be launched in 2025 as a premium small car brand. Li has indicated that it will be positioned below Onvo with a range of small to mid-sized EVs targeted at those offered by Mini.

“The relationship between Firefly and Nio is similar to the relationship between Mini and BMW. It will be a high-quality small car,” he said.

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