Nio's sub-brand, codenamed Alps, is set to commence trial production in July, with the launch and deliveries expected in the second half of this year, according to sources familiar with the matter, as reported by local media outlet 36kr.
Trial production serves as the final assessment phase before mass production, ensuring the readiness of production equipment, supply chain, quality control, and manufacturing systems. The aim is to verify that all processes meet production standards and that components and assemblies demonstrate stability, the report highlighted.
If the trial production phase progresses successfully, Alps' inaugural model, codenamed DOM, is slated for an official launch in October, with deliveries to follow shortly thereafter, the report added. Despite the brief delivery window in 2024, Alps has set an ambitious target, aiming to deliver tens of thousands of units this year, according to an insider cited by 36kr.
Pilot cars of the DOM model are currently undergoing production, indicating a step forward in the sub-brand's development. Alps' entire model lineup will be built on Nio's third-generation technology platform, NT 3.0, with the DOM model incorporating some of Nio's latest technological advancements.
The DOM model's battery packs are expected to feature capacities of approximately 60 kWh and 90 kWh, with the new packs being thinner than existing ones in Nio's battery swap system, providing more interior space. The vehicle will also showcase a new generation of motors developed and manufactured by Nio to optimize size and cost, the report noted.
Notably, the DOM model will integrate 4D millimeter-wave radars, capable of detecting both horizontal and vertical objects. This feature, previously found in higher-priced models, is seen as a significant technological inclusion for Alps.
The launch of sub-brands like Alps is a pivotal strategy for Nio to curtail losses. In 2024, Nio's main brand is not expected to release any new models, making the debut of Alps crucial in defending against competitors entering the market.
In August 2021, Nio confirmed its foray into the mass market through sub-brands, with internal codenames Alps and Firefly. Alps is reportedly targeting the family car market with prices ranging from RMB 200,000 to RMB 300,000.
Nio founder and CEO William Li confirmed in December 2021 that Alps had completed the trial production of its VB prototype, expressing optimism about further optimizations. Recent reports have suggested that Alps' first model will be an SUV, followed by a sedan, both priced below RMB 300,000.