Novelis signed an agreement with next-generation car company, NIO, to provide aluminum sheet products for the automaker’s fleet of premium electric and autonomous vehicles. NIO will use Novelis Advanz™ aluminum alloys to create a wide range of structural components and parts for its aluminum-intensive NIO electric SUV models to be launched over the next five years.
Next Generation Vehicles
NIO designs and develops smart, high-performance, electric and autonomous vehicles. The company’s electric supercar, the NIO EP9, achieved set the new world record for the fastest self-driving car at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, achieving a lap time of 2 minutes 40.33 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph. With four high-performance inboard motors and four individual gearboxes, the EP9 delivers 1 MW of power, is capable of accelerating from 0-124 mph in 7.1 seconds, and has a top speed of 194 mph. With an interchangeable battery system, the EP9 is designed to be charged in 45 minutes and has a range of 265 miles.
NIO recently announced that it plans to have autonomous electric vehicles in the U.S. market in 2020. At the same time, the company introduced EVE, its vision car, which is designed to showcase the future of autonomous driving. The EVE is said to constantly learns about its occupants and their preferences during daily activities, from commuting to road trips. It includes an artificial intelligence engine, called NOMI, with an intuitive human interface. The vehicle body is designed to provide comfort and an adaptable living space.
“In 2015, commuters in the U.S. spent over 8 billion hours in their cars commuting. NIO’s autonomous electric cars will make your journey safe, productive and enjoyable,” said Padmasree Warrior, NIO’s U.S. CEO. “Our cars will be your companion and will know your needs, they will be a welcoming living space that moves you. We look forward to producing the first of the next generation of cars for the U.S. consumer.” NIO USA was issued an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit by the California DMV in October 2016. The company plans to begin testing on public roads under the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program guidelines as it progresses on its path to bring autonomy to market.
NIO has thousands of R&D and design experts from around the world with significant technology and management background from leading automobile and high tech companies. NIO’s global headquarters are located in the Shanghai Automobile Innovation Park, China, primarily responsible for integrated vehicle R&D, manufacturing operations, sales, marketing, and customer service. The company also has facilities in San Jose, CA (its North American headquarters and global software development center); London, U.K. (responsible for its performance program and serving as the NIO Formula-E team headquarters); and Munich, Germany (its design headquarters); as well as eight other locations.
The NIO partnership marks Novelis’ first major commitment in the premium electric vehicle space. Supply for NIO will come from Novelis’ Changzhou plant — China’s first facility dedicated to manufacturing heat-treated automotive sheet. This location provides local access to materials for NIO’s manufacturing facilities.
“This seminal relationship with NIO is pushing the limits of what is possible with electric vehicles from both a performance and design standpoint,” said Pierre Labat, vice president, Sales & Marketing, Global Automotive, Novelis. “It underscores that Novelis is more than just a material supplier, we are collaborators and problem solvers working closely with design teams to help ensure vehicles are built to maximize the unique attributes of aluminum and meet the mobility demands of the future.”
NIO founder and chairman, William Li, said, “This partnership of mutual benefit will bring confidence and new capabilities to the booming global EV market. The two companies will work together closely and push forward the application of lightweight materials in the next-generation of electric vehicles.”