NIO launches EL8 in Europe amid looming tariff threats to Chinese-made EVs

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NIO launches EL8 in Europe amid looming tariff threats to Chinese-made EVs


Despite recently announced tariffs on Chinese-made EVs imported into Europe, NIO has officially launched its EL8 SUV overseas. It will initially be sold in five EU markets as NIO touts its commitment to sales in the region despite the looming threat of import fees.

NIO has been harnessing ten years of EV innovation since it was founded in China. Its journey to today’s rank as one of the world’s leading all-electric automakers began with a flagship SUV called the ES8.

Last month, NIO rolled its 500,000th passenger EV off its Hefei assembly line and, to mark the milestone completed a unit of the ES8 that started it all. Since 2021, NIO has been expanding outside of its native China and into Europe, initially setting up showrooms and offering test drives of its models, like the EL8, in regions like Norway before beginning official sales.

Today, NIO sells five all-electric models in the EU, including ET7, ES7, ET5, ET5T, and ES6. However, due to nameplate disputes, the Chinese automaker had to change the model badges of its SUVs to “L” instead of “S” so European customers could buy an EL7 or EL6 instead.

Despite the name changes, these are the same models produced in China and shipped overseas in growing numbers. Following an announcement by NIO this morning, its flagship EL8 (ES8 in China) has officially launched in Europe despite recently announced tariffs on Chinese imports.

NIO EL8 Europe
The NIO EL8 SUV (ES8 in China) / Source: NIO/Weibo

EL8 becomes NIO’s sixth EV to launch in Europe

According to a post on its Weibo page this morning, NIO has officially launched the EL8 SUV in Europe, beginning sales in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark.

The refreshed model, based on NIO’s NT 2.0 platform, was launched in China earlier this year. It includes a cockpit chip upgrade and two electric motors that deliver a maximum output of 480 kW and a 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 4.1 seconds.

The SUVs will be supported by the automaker’s growing footprint of charging infrastructure in Europe. According to the automaker, it currently operates 43 battery swap stations, 45 regional superchargers, and over 600,000 third-party chargers available to its customers.

NIO’s decision to launch a new EV like the EL8 in Europe is interesting, as the EU Commission announced plans to impose tariffs on Chinese vehicles by up to 48%. According to CnEVPost, NIO, in particular, is looking at 21% tariffs on all models imported into the region.

NIO has publicly denounced the tariffs but has expressed a sentiment of perseverance, vowing to continue its expansion in Europe, and the EL8 launch is a clear sign of that bold resolve.

The EU tariffs are expected to go into effect on July 4, but some countries like Germany are fighting the fees, arguing that they hurt local OEMs who export their European-built vehicles to China. Regardless of how the tariffs pan out, NIO appears unwavering in its quest to become a leading EV automaker in Europe.

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