Chinese Tesla rival Nio has developed an EV battery with a range of 1,000km — and its CEO tested it out by driving for 14 hours on a single charge between two Chinese cities.

Nio CEO William Li, who has gained a reputation as China’s Elon Musk, live-streamed his mammoth 1,044km journey from Shanghai to Xiamen on December 17 in a test of the Chinese EV company’s groundbreaking battery technology.

Li said in a post on the Chinese social media site Weibo that his Nio ET7 electric car was able to travel the whole 14-hour journey without recharging despite a regional cold snap and that he ended the 1000km road trip with 3% battery charge still remaining.

The ET7 was powered by Nio’s 150 kWh battery, which Li says has the highest energy density of any mass-produced EV battery on the planet, allowing it to provide greater range than most other electric cars.

Nio is planning to begin mass-producing 150 kWh batteries in April 2024. However, it is going to be expensive, with the company saying buying the battery by itself will cost around 298,000 yuan ($42,100) — the same price as a Tesla Model Y in China.

That may seem steep, but it’s part of Nio’s radical approach to EV charging.

The company allows its customers to buy its cars without a battery and pay a monthly subscription fee to access Nio’s network of more than 2,000 battery swap stations across China, where they can simply swap out dead batteries for fully charged ones.

The bold strategy is yet to pay off, with Nio’s president Lihong Qin recently telling the Financial Times that Nio is still losing $12,000 on every car it makes.

However, it has helped Li become something of a celebrity and fuelled comparisons with Tesla boss Musk.

The Nio CEO headlined the company’s annual “Nio Day” on Sunday, for which 10,000 Nio owners traveled to a stadium in Xi’an in sub-zero temperatures to watch Li announce the firm’s latest EV, its new ET9 flagship.

Nio did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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