NIO is reportedly supporting a startup called Zhixing in creating high-end EVs for the ultra-luxury off-road market. Zhixing’s first vehicle will be an ultra-high-end SUV priced around $150,000, according to a report by LatePost.
NIO’s CEO, William Li, has reportedly stated that the project is part of NIO’s strategic efforts in that market segment. NIO Capital, with Li as its managing partner, will reportedly provide a seed round investment of several million dollars to Zhixing.
Zhixing plans to launch its first vehicle, an ultra-high-end SUV, in 2025. The vehicle will be available in overseas markets at the same time and will be built on NIO’s NT 3.0 platform.
Zhixing will reportedly have a close collaboration with NIO in terms of technology, supply chain, and charging system. Zhixing’s founder, Zhao Lei, previously worked as a senior director at Li Auto and as the co-founder and CEO of Guangzhou-based car startup Cyberspace.
Zhixing has assembled teams in China, the US, and Europe, with the European team focusing on performance-related research and development and the US team focusing on adventure experience and product design. The company is reportedly considering Richard Kim, former co-founder of US startup Canoo and former vice president of design at Faraday Future, for the head of the US team.
Zhixing will use NIO’s technology platform and NT 3.0 platform to develop its ultra-high-end SUV, which will be available for both 800 V ultra-fast charging and battery swapping. The NT 3.0 platform, which is set to launch in 2024, will likely use batteries developed by NIO and all models based on the platform will reportedly support the 800 V architecture with ultra-fast charging and battery swapping capabilities.