Nio, is set to unveil its inaugural self-developed mobile phone in late September, with the aim of enhancing the appeal of its vehicles through improved software and connectivity, the company has announced. This move places Nio among China’s latest automakers embracing the trend of introducing car systems that enable drivers to remotely perform functions such as unlocking doors, activating air conditioning, and starting the vehicles using their smartphones.
William Li, the founder and chief executive of Nio, played a pivotal role in driving this phone project, primarily directed at enhancing the experience for car owners. Li emphasized that the objective of the phone venture is not to compete with established phone manufacturers but to serve as a conduit for providing an optimal experience to Nio’s vehicle users.
As the demand for connectivity among drivers surges due to the prevalence of smartphones, automakers are increasingly seeking innovative ways to outpace their competitors. Notably, the founder of Zhejing Geely Holding acquired the smartphone manufacturer Meizu last year, with intentions to integrate consumer electronics and travel. In a parallel effort, Huawei Technologies has joined forces with automakers, including Seres Group, to integrate its Harmony operating system and power electric vehicles.
However, Nio’s foray into the mobile phone realm has raised apprehensions among certain investors, coinciding with the company’s struggle against widening losses and a sales downturn, largely stemming from a price war initiated by Tesla in January.
Nio reported a net loss of 6.12 billion yuan ($839.51 million) in the second quarter, a stark contrast to the loss of 2.75 billion yuan in the same period the previous year. By the end of June, the company held cash and cash equivalents totaling $4.3 billion. Additionally, Nio secured a $1.1 billion investment from CYVN Holdings in July.
Looking forward, Li affirmed Nio’s plans to launch the initial model of their new electric vehicle brand, tailored for the mass market, in the latter half of 2024.