Reports claim Firefly brand is not compatible with existing Nio swap stations and will launch in China first

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News suggests that all might not be looking good for Nio’s third brand codenamed Firefly. Already at the Onvo launch in May we learned that the third brand’s debut had been postponed from this year to the second quarter of 2025. Firefly is meant to be largely aimed at the European market and was originally planned to be launched simultaneously in Europe and China. Now according to news reports, which Nio has yet to respond to, the brand will initially launch in China.

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More serious still to investors is that although the Firefly brand supports battery swapping Fast Technology claim its incompatible with Nio battery swap stations. Nio’s second generation and third generation battery swap stations require a wheelbase of 2800 mm or more. The Firefly brand will focus on smaller, more affordable cars positioned in the 100,000 – 200,000 yuan (13,800 – 27,600 USD) segment, today’s earnings call indicated the first model would be around 100,000 yuan (13,800 USD).As such they will likely require a wheelbase shorter than 2800 mm. Nio’s fourth generation swap stations will go live from June 13 but currently there is no news on whether the wheelbase requirement will be shortened.

While Onvo brand cars use different capacity battery packs to those in the mainstream Nio brand the cars are compatible with the third generation (after modification) and new fourth generation swap stations. Reports indicate that Firefly due to its smaller battery pack will not be able to use existing swap stations. Furthermore, it seems that all three brands will use different packs. Some sources such as 21st Century Business Herald claim the fourth generation stations will be compatible with the swapping requirements of Firefly.

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Although Firefly’s first car has been spotted in the wild little is known about it. From the spy shots we can see the car is a hatchback like SUV with styling similar to a Zeekr X or Volkswagen ID.3. Along with high ground clearance we can clearly see a sporty spoiler on the rear roofline. Given that the brand will be affordable items such as Lidar will be absent and the car will use doors with frames.

Editor’s note:

There seems to be no end to Nio’s cash burn. If the Firefly brand is not compatible with Nio battery swap stations but is battery swappable, does this mean that Nio is going to roll out another swap station network? Hopefully, the new brand will be able to use the fourth-generation swap station, and we should have a clearer idea later this month when the first stations go live.

This comes days after Nio announced it had commenced building its F3 plant. Currently there is some confusion over where the Firefly brand will be assembled with some reports saying it would be built at the former Leopard (Liebao) factory in Chuzhou, Anhui Province while others indicate Nio’s F1 plant.

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Postponement of the European launch is probably inevitable. As reported yesterday Nio only saw 35 cars registered in Germany last month a 20% year-on-year drop. Furthermore an announcement about whether the EU is going to put tariffs on the import of Chinese cars is imminent with tariffs of around 20% more than likely. These factors make a successful launch of the Firefly brand in Europe both difficult and costly for Nio.

Source: Fast Technology

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