‘NIO Day’ Featured a New EV and AR Goggles. Will They Be Enough to Boost the Hard Hit Stock?

‘NIO Day’ Featured a New EV and AR Goggles. Will They Be Enough to Boost the Hard Hit Stock?

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A Nio eP9 car is seen during the 19th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai on April 19, 2021.
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO (ticker: NIO) hosted an event for car buyers—and investors—in China on Saturday morning Eastern time. A brand new model, to be delivered in 2022, was announced. And the technology NIO is packing into its cars is something to behold. There are even augmented reality glasses—like something out of an Avengers movie.

The new vehicle is the ET5 midsize sedan. It’s a higher-end model starting at about $50,000. With NIO’s battery as a service subscription, the initial purchase price is about $40,000. NIO will let car buyers pay a monthly fee, essentially, separating the battery purchase from the car purchase.

The new sedan comes with roughly 500 horsepower and will go zero to 60 miles an hour in about 4 seconds. It should be able to drive up to 430 miles per charge, a big number although Chinese and U.S. range statistics are reported differently.

The ET5 is also equipped with advanced safety features including lidar sensors.

Lidar is essentially laser-based radar and most auto makers believe lidar is one of the technologies required to achieve truly self-driving technology. The ET5 also comes equipped with the company’s latest self-driving software. NIO Autonomous Driving or NAD, as the company calls it, will maintain driving speeds and do some steering, but drivers still need to pay attention to the road at all times.

All the software for self-driving—and the software running other car systems—runs on a computer powered by Nvidia (NVDA) chips.

Then there are the glasses. NIO unveiled augmented reality glasses that are integrated with the car. “The visual experience is as good as a 201-inch screen at 6 meters away,” said NIO founder William Li. The glasses can display vehicle information. Drivers won’t have to look down to check speed. The glasses drew applause from the assembled crowd.

NIO plans to deliver the ET5 by September 2022. The company also provided an update about its new ET7 sedan. Deliveries of that model should begin in March 2022. The ET7 was unveiled at the company’s last big event in January 2021.

NIO stock jumped 6.5% to more than $60 a share the Monday following that January event—and it could use another bump now. NIO stock has fallen 22% over the last month to $30. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are down about 2% and 1% over the same span. NIO’s third-quarter earnings were fine. Earnings and deliveries don’t seem to be what’s troubling investors most. Instead, delisting fears about U.S.-listed Chinese stocks have hammered NIO and its peers. XPeng (XPEV) shares are down 12% over the past month.

How the stock reacts to the new model, new technology and proposed delivery dates will say a lot about investor sentiment toward highly valued EV makers and U.S.-listed Chinese stocks in the coming weeks.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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