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Here’s what Nio’s first sedan to rival Tesla in China looks like

William Li, founder and chairman of Nio, shares features of the et7 sedan at a launch event in Chengdu, China, on Jan. 9, 2021.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

BEIJING — Chinese electric car start-up Nio released its first sedan on Saturday with self-driving technology features that the company claims surpass that of Tesla.

Pre-subsidy prices for the et7 sedan start at 448,000 yuan ($69,000) with a 70 kilowatt-per-hour battery pack. If customers choose to pay for battery services based on a 980 yuan monthly subscription fee, the vehicle costs 378,000 yuan.

Deliveries are set to begin in the first quarter of 2022, company founder and chairman William Li said at a launch event in Chengdu, China. Pre-orders began Saturday.

Nio revealed its first sedan, the et7, on Jan. 9, 2021.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

Nio’s et7 sedan can work with the company’s new autonomous driving system that features camera resolution of 8 megapixels — versus 1.2 megapixels for Tesla — and Nvidia processing chips that offer processing power greater than that of seven Tesla full self-driving computers, Li claimed.

The autonomous driving system costs 680 yuan a month, Li said.

Tesla’s China-made Model Y is slated to begin deliveries as early as April with a price tag of 339,900 yuan, according to the company’s website as of Saturday.

The et7 claims a driving range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles). That’s more than the 706 kilometer-range of Xpeng‘s P7 sedan, which the company claimed last year was the most for any electric car in China.

Nio’s new sedan also features a laminated all-glass roof, heated seats in both rows and 23 speakers, according to the company.

While other Chinese electric vehicle companies have seen strong demand for their recently launched sedans, Nio only has SUVs on the market. The company showed off a sedan prototype at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2019, but ran into financial difficulties later that year.

Nio’s et7 sedan features a laminated all-glass roof, heated seats in both rows and 23 speakers, according to the company.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

After receiving roughly $1 billion from state-backed investors in early 2020, Nio’s New York-listed shares began to recover and closed the year up well over 1,000%. The start-up plans to enter Europe as soon as the second half of this year.

For 2020, Nio said deliveries more than doubled from a year ago to 43,728 vehicles.

That made the automaker the best performer among other New York-listed Chinese electric car start-ups.

But Nio’s deliveries still fall short of BYD, a Chinese car and battery company backed by American billionaire Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk’s Tesla.

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