Electric vehicle startup NIO is emerging as a serious competitor in the EV space and illustrating that, the company opened its first service center right next to Tesla’s in Beijing as it’s about to deliver its first cars.

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China’s demand for SUVs is increasing rapidly and it is extending to electric SUVs, which made Tesla’s Model X a very popular vehicle in the country despite its higher price due to import duties slapped on all of Tesla’s vehicles.

Now NIO, which is emerging as one of the most well-funded new Chinese EV startups, is bringing its  first production vehicle to market, the NIO ES8, a cheaper all-electric SUV to try to capture some of that demand for electric SUVs.

They are about to deliver their first NIO ES8 vehicles and they are opening their first service right next to Tesla’s in Beijing.

Here’s a gallery of images of the new facility (via JayinShanghai):

When NIO first launched the ES8, they said that the vehicle is a full size 7-seater electric SUV with a 70 kWh battery pack enabling 355 km (220 miles) of NEDC-rated range, which should result in closer to 200 miles of real-world range.

The first 10,000 ES8 vehicles will be the “Founder Edition” with a starting price of RMB 548,000 (~$83,000 USD) before incentives.

But the price of those “Founder Edition” vehicles doesn’t matter much since NIO claims that they are already all sold out.

The standard ES8 starts at RMB 448,000 (~$68,000 USD) or RMB 375,400 ($57,000) after govt. incentives, which represents roughly half the price of the Tesla Model X in China.

But NIO also offers a battery renting structure, similar to Renault’s ZOE battery scheme, which lowers the upfront price of the vehicle to RMB 275,400 (~$42,000 USD).

The battery renting fee is not cheap at RMB 1,280 (~$2o0 USD) per month, but it also gives owner access to a battery swap system to get more range quickly.

We will follow the rollout and early customer response to the ES8. If you are in line to get one or you know someone who is, let us know.

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