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NIU Founder Creates A Car Company: It Will Be Called NIUTRON

What would be your ambitions after creating a successful scooter company and leaving it? For Yinan Li, founder of NIU, the answer is founding a car company. That’s precisely what the Chinese entrepreneur announced with NIUTRON, an EV startup that plans to reveal its first vehicle in the first half of 2022.
NIUTRON is a new electric car company from China 13 photos
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Although that seems quite early for a company that was just announced, that’s not really the case. Li started NIUTRON a while after leaving NIU in 2018. Along these three years of work, the company grew to a team of 1,000 people only in its R&D (research and development) department. These guys and girls have developed the company’s own platform, called Gemini.

The first product from NIUTRON will be a mid-large SUV called NV. It will come in two flavors: BEV (battery electric vehicle) and EREV (extended-range electric vehicle), which some would prefer to call PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). However, calling it EREV means that the vehicle will only be propelled by electric motors, not by the combustion engine that will take it further than if it had only a battery pack. Deliveries should start in September 2022.

Li has not disclosed range or any hints about NIUTRON’s new cars. He only said that the company would be based in the same city where NIU produces its scooters: Changzhou. The factory is already under construction in a 770,000-square-meter (190.3-acre) terrain, and it should be ready by March 2022. Production capacity will be 180,000 cars per year, probably with some room for expansion.

That should be the case if the company’s ambitions are fulfilled. NIUTRON stated it will be “one of the most valuable electric automotive startups after NIO, Xpeng, and Li Auto.” Such a bold statement will require bold proof that it has what it takes to be among these other companies. The NIUTRON NV is now in charge of answering that.

Editor's note: The gallery presents images of NIU products, the ones Yinan Li helped to create before leaving the company and founding NIUTRON.

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