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

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

The Onvo brand is an extension to the Nio portfolio, targeted at more price-conscious family car buyers, with its first model set to be an electric-powered 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.

The Nio CEO and founder stressed that Onvo is a “mass-market brand”, but “not a low-to-mid range brand”.

Earlier this month, Li said the first Onvo model will be cheaper than the Model Y, and that it will support Nio’s patented battery swap technology.

Confirmation of the Onvo name by Li 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 established in the UK. 

Parent company Nio has regularly indicated a desire to enter the UK market following its entry to other European countries, though an official date for its arrival has yet to be made public. 

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

Onvo is one of two sub-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 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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