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August 2020 update of top 5 Chinese EV startups’ insurance registrations

In August, automakers in China bought the Mandatory Liability Insurance for Traffic Accidents of Motor Vehicles (MLI) for roughly 92,000 homegrown new energy vehicles (NEVs), representing a remarkable surge of 120% from the year ago, according to China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).

The insurance volume of startup-made NEVs zoomed up around 150% year on year to nearly 13,000 units in August. However, all of them remained far behind the Tesla Model 3, which topped other China-made NEVs with a registration number of 11,542 units.

Among the top 10 China-made BEV models by Aug. insurance volume, the NIO ES6 and the Xpeng P7 were the only two developed by startups, ranking sixth and tenth respectively. Notably, the NIO ES6 was the No.1 among the locally-produced all-electric SUV models.

Unlike the top 10 BEV model list dominated by car models, SUV models took five places among the top 10 PHEV models by Aug. insurance registrations. The Li One still outperformed other PHEV rivals with 2,706 vehicles registered.

In August, the top five NEV startups by monthly insurance volume were still NIO, Li Auto, Xpeng Motors, WM Motor and HOZON Auto. The gap between Li Auto and Xpeng Motors was evidently narrowed to only 10 units.

Both NIO ES8, ES6 log YoY surge in Aug. insurance volume

NIO's insurance registrations amounted to 3,929 units in August, including 2,828 ES6s (+56.4% YoY) and 1,101 ES8s (+504.9% YoY). For the first eight months, the volume of the two models totaled 21,557 units, versus 10,458 vehicles registered in the year-ago period.

“As we continue to improve the production capacity for all NIO products, our monthly capacity will reach 5,000 units in September to support our future deliveries,” said William Bin Li, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of NIO. “With the closing of our recently announced ADS offering, we have further enhanced our balance sheet and optimized our capital structure to be better prepared for the acceleration of our core technology development, autonomous driving in particular, and the global market expansion in the future.”

The delivery of the EC6, NIO's third mass-produced model, formally kicked off on September 25. The EV manufacturer said, as of Sept. 23, the cumulative driving range of all NIO's users has exceeded 1 billion kilometers.

As of September 3, NIO has so far launched 151 stores in 91 cities in China, including 129 NIO Houses and 22 NIO Spaces. With 145 battery swapping stations set up, NIO wishes to further enhance its product competency by offering users more convenient energy supply methods.

Li ONE's registrations keep climbing month on month

With only one mass-produced model available for sale, Li Auto saw its insurance volume increase from 2,517 units in July to 2,706 units in August, only 88 units fewer than the historical peak level achieved in April.

For the Jan.-Aug. period, the cumulative insurance volume of the Li ONE PHEV reached 14,890 units.

By the end of August, Li Auto has opened 31 retail outlets in 26 cities of China. There were eight cities—Changzhou, Dongguan, Kunming, Foshan, Hefei, Dalian, Wuxi and Lanzhou—which were newly covered by the startup's service network in August. According to a local report, its sales centers in Shenyang, Guiyang, Xiamen, Haerbin, Haikou, Taiyuan and Wenzhou are about to be launched by October. 

Li Auto raised $1.1 billion through its debut on Nasdaq on July 30, valuing the five-year-old Chinese NEV startup at around $10 billion. The blooming sales and the acceptance by U.S. capital market seem to imbue the company with more confidence.

Xpeng P7's monthly insurance volume surpasses 2,000 units for the first time

In August, the insurance registrations of the Xpeng P7 topped 2,000 units for the first time, growing for three consecutive months. The volume aggregated 4,223 units for the first eight months.

With 8 trim levels and four range options available, the P7 is priced between 229,900 yuan ($33,760) and 349,900 yuan ($51,380). After the first P7s delivered in late June, the startup has held delivery ceremonies for the vehicle in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhaoqing and Chengdu on July 17. 

Besides, the Xpeng G3's registrations reached 669 units in August, dropping 16.7% over the previous month. 

Last month, Xpeng Motors became the third Chinese EV startups going public on U.S. capital market. Under the ticker “XPEV”, the company announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 99,733,334 American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) at a price of $15.00 per ADS. The gross proceeds from the offering would be approximately $1.5 billion.

Xpeng Motor launched on September 1 its battery leasing service, which allows consumers to spread the battery pack cost in 84 monthly installments within 7 years.

According to Xpeng's plan, a consumer who uses the battery leasing service can buy an EV without the battery pack at a price much lower than the original value and pay the battery usage fee in 84 installments on a monthly basis. After 7 years, the consumer can entirely have the ownership of the battery pack.

WM Motor's Aug. insurance registrations remain basically flat from a month ago

The insurance registrations of WM Motor's vehicles stood at 1,331 units in July, only 20 units more than that of a month ago.

Among the vehicles registered last month, 1,324 units were from the EX5, falling from 2,175 units registered in the prior-year period.

The startup is taking faster moves on expanding its retail channels. By the end of August, the EV manufacturer has newly set up 94 sales outlets across the country so far this year, of which 30 were launched last month.

WM Motor also made significant progress in financing business. It announced on September 22 the completion of its Series D round financing, which raised 10 billion yuan ($1,463,421,700) in total, the highest-ever amount for a single round of fundraising launched by EV startups.

The proceeds from the financing will be primarily used for the R&D of intelligent technologies, brand construction, digital marketing and sales channel expansion.

The D round is likely to be the last round of financing before WM Motor going public in 2021, said a source briefed on the company's matter.

“The closing of the D round financing indicates that investors are upbeat about the prospect of the intelligent new energy vehicle industry, and highly recognize WM Motor's position as a technology innovation company, its long-term development strategy, outstanding core talent team and industry-leading cutting-edge technologies,” said Freeman Shen Hui, WM Motor's founder, chairman and CEO.

Nezha N01 registrations rebound after two-month MoM decline

HOZON Auto saw its August insurance registrations reach 999 units, of which 657 units were the Nezha U compact SUVs, a month-on-month decline of 19.1%. After two straight months of month-on-month decline, the N01's registrations rose to 342 units in August from 217 units in July.

The company has announced the beginning of its C-round fundraising and plans to be listed on the science and technology innovation board in 2021.

The Nezha V, the startup's third production model, is going to be unveiled in the third quarter and hit the market in the fourth. Moreover, HOZON Auto has launched the all-new concept dubbed “Eureka 03”. Positioned as a four-door premium all-electric coupe, the concept regards the Xpeng P7 as its benchmark.