Chinese automaker GAC teams up with Nio for EV, postpones US launch

2019 Nio ES6

Nio last week announced a joint venture with state automaker GAC to sell electric cars in China.

It’s especially of interest in the U.S. because both companies have their sights set on selling electric vehicles here.

The equal-split venture, to be called GAC Nio New Energy Vehicle company, will build and sell EVs under a new Hycan brand in China. The first, teased by a concept SUV at an investor event in Hangzhou, may offer a range of 600 km (373 miles), the companies said, although they didn’t specify the driving cycle or reveal any more details about the vehicle.

CHECK OUT: Nio unveils ET Preview electric sedan in Shanghai

In its quarterly earnings call last week, Nio also announced that the Chinese government would provide what amounts to a bailout, investing $1.45 billion into a joint venture called Nio China, funded through the government’s E-Town Capital company.

Nio has become known as the Tesla of China, selling two electric SUVs there, as well as home energy products and operating charging stations and a battery-swap station for its cars. It has announced plans to bring a car to the U.S. in 2020, and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last year. It’s also working on a self-driving system similar to Tesla.

READ MORE: GAC Motor shows electric three-row minivan concept, delays US brand launch to 2020

Last month, Nio showed a concept version of its first electric sedan, the ET Preview, at the Shanghai auto show.

GAC has been working to move into the U.S. market for years, and announced that it plans to be the first Chinese automaker to sell cars in the U.S. At this year’s Detroit auto show in January, the company brought an electric minivan and announced plans to develop an all-electric crossover for the U.S. in 2020 (already delayed a year from earlier plans.) 

In a statement Wednesday, GAC said it would postpone those plans again, citing “the escalation of China-U.S. trade frictions” and distribution “uncertainties.”

We’ve reached out to Nio to see how if at all this new venture might impact its U.S. plans.

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