Nio subsidiary ‘Firefly’ to bring sub-€30,000 EVs to Europe

Chinese EV start-up Nio is doubling down on its efforts to become a key player in Europe’s automobile market, in line with the region’s progressive transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Image: Sebastian Schaal

After a series of high-end, expensive EVs under the core Nio brand, the company plans to launch affordable EVs under new ‘Onvo’ and ‘Firefly’ brands and become a true volume player, according to Reuters.

Of the two new brands, Firefly will be more accessible, offering smaller models expected to be priced under $30,000, Nicolas Vincelot, General Manager, Nio France, said during a France-China business meeting. However, while Onvo is the final name, Firefly is still a project name and could change to something else at the time of commercial release. Even Onvo carried a different name (Alps) during the early planning stages.

Nio EVs are large and come pretty loaded with high-tech features, and that makes them quite expensive for many customers. The cheapest model, a mid-size sedan called Nio ET5, has a starting price of €47,500. The Firefly EVs would be approximately 40% cheaper, potentially competing with the upcoming VW ID.2, VW ID.2 SUV, Cupra Raval, and Škoda Epiq.

Like Nio EVs, Firefly EVs will allow customers to quickly replace batteries at battery swap stations. However, Vincelot suggested Nio is shifting focus to selling and leasing cars, so the BaaS may not be its primary business model for the Firefly EVs.

Based on spy shots, Chinese media outlets have indicated that the first Firefly EV will be a four-door hatchback. These images have shown it featuring smooth curves, technical-looking lights, and smart proportions like popular European hatchbacks. While Nio has managed to keep a tight lid on the interior, a highly digital cabin with a clean look, clever storage spaces, and a large central touchscreen wouldn’t be a surprise.

There’s no word on the specifications of the Firefly EVs, but it’s safe to assume that they would sit on a new platform engineered for smaller, low-cost models. Nio may target a WLTP range of up to approximately 450 km for the hatchback to ensure it’s competitive enough against popular European EVs in its segment. Vincelot said the company may introduce the new brand in 2025, the same year several prominent European automakers plan to unveil or launch their aggressively priced pure electric small hatchbacks and crossovers.,


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