Silicon Valley to Shanghai for the Auto Show

25 april 2017 by NIO

By: Annie Weckesser, Head of Communications, NIO, U.S.

Last week my colleagues and I traveled to Shanghai for the 17th International Automobile Industry Exhibition. We unveiled our production car, the NIO ES8 that will be launched later this year for the China market. We also showcased two NIO Formula E race cars, seven NIO EP9s, one of which has the record for fastest electric car in the world, and our vision car EVE.

Here are my five key takeaways from the show:

  1. The car industry is undergoing massive change. You can’t ignore it. Some experts say more changes will happen in the next five to ten years than then the last fifty plus years. A market research report from Deutsche Bank from March 2017 states that: “Nearly every 5-10 year forecast for the Auto Industry today includes the word "disruptive.”  Everything about the automotive industry, from auto shows to vehicles, to the services around them is in transition and will look very different in the future.
  2. There will be industry consolidation. Walking the show floor, there were many brands I had never heard of. Not unlike the tech industry, consolidation of these companies and brands are imminent. Although there are numerous electric car brands now, the car business is capital intensive and will require companies to attract and maintain loyal users. At NIO, we strongly think this will decrease with time: If you look in five years, there won’t be more than two or three companies reaching the minimum level of sales needed.”
  3. China thinks bigger. Everything from the size of the venue at the National Exhibition and Convention Center to the number of brands present was massive. The center is the one of the largest buildings in the world at over 4 million square feet. The sheer size and scale are impressive and is indicative of the demand in the growing market.
  4. China may lead in the EV revolution. Why? China is now the world’s largest car market and the U.S. follows. According to data from McKinsey, 43 percent of the 870,000 electric cars produced in 2016 came from China. Germany and the United States accounted for 23 percent and 17 percent respectively. Auto Shanghai appeared to be one of the largest parades of launches of electric and hybrid vehicles and many demonstrating leading edge technologies on display. In addition to funding, the market also has a significant amount of capital coming from other auto companies, suppliers, contract manufactures and governments. The amount of capital and the number of proposals and incentives for cleaner driving could push China to lead in EVs.
  5. Autonomous vehicles are the solution. After our team spent hours in Shanghai traffic traveling to and from the convention center, it was very clear that they cannot handle any more congestion or pollution.

Autonomous, electric vehicles may not solve all of China’s mobility issues, but they will definitely free up more of people’s time and make the ride more joyful. To us, premium is not leather seats or chrome; it’s freeing up people’s time.