Chinese EV startup could end the year

Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio Inc. vehicles are on display in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to celebrate the companyÂ’s initial public offering (IPO) in New York, U.S., September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Chinese electric car startups that surfaced in recent years, one stood out—it went public in New York this year and now is drawing closer in sales to a rival that’s also an inspiration: Tesla.
That’s NIO, a four-year-old Shanghai-based electric-vehicle maker that counts Chinese social media giant Tencent and Singapore state investment fund Temasek as investors. On Monday (Dec. 3), NIO said on social media site Weibo that it has delivered 8,030 cars (link in Chinese), putting it on track to win a bet with rival Xiaopeng Motors, another billion-dollar EV startup, backed by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.
In July, He Xiaopeng, founder of Xiaopeng Motors, bet that no new Chinese EV maker could deliver 10,000 cars (link in Chinese) this year, because quality control and platform development would take a long time. Li bet otherwise, saying his company would deliver 10,000 cars to customers by the end of 2018. Whoever lost would give the other a car from his own brand.
Reaching that number would be a major milestone for NIO, putting it not so far behind Tesla, widely admired in China. Last year, Tesla sold 17,670 cars (link in Chinese), which put it in among the top 10 sellers of fully electric cars in China. This year, the California-based company founded by Elon Musk sold around 14,000 fully electric vehicles (link in Chinese) in the first nine months, according to China Passenger Car Association, which gets its data from companies. In October Tesla’s China sales slumped 70% to 211 compared to sales in the same month last year due to increased tariffs, according to Reuters (Tesla disputes that figure).
Of course, Tesla sales could pick up by the end of the year, widening the gap. After a meeting on Saturday (Dec. 1) between US president Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping, Trump tweeted thatChina has promised to reduce and remove tariffs on cars from the US, currently at 40%. It’s unclear when that will happen.

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