Padmasree Warrior, US Chief of Potential Tesla Rival, Suddenly Resigns

Padmasree Warrior, the U.S. chief of EV maker Nio, suddenly
resigned last week after a three-year stint at Nio, a company
that’s widely seen as a potential rival to Tesla.

Warrior resigned for “personal interests” from her role as
chief development officer and CEO of Nio U.S., effective December
17, according to a release.

No warning of the executive departure was provided, and a
replacement has not been named.

Warrior owns about 1.4 percent of Nio, according to the S-1
document filed in August. A
rare woman chief auto executive
, she leaves Nio just as it’s
on the cusp of volume production and only a few months after
raising $1 billion in its

Prior to Nio, Warrior was CTO at Cisco and CTO at Motorola. 

$70K electric SUV vs. $135K Tesla

Nio just started delivering its first volume-built EV in June
— an SUV with a driving range of 220 miles. A smaller SUV is
slated for delivery in 2019. The initial SUV has a price
of approximately $70,000 prior to incentives. A Tesla Model X
will cost you $135,000 in China, more or less, depending on the
shifting trade tariffs.

Nio is building its cars in an arrangement with JAC, a large
state-owned automobile builder in China — so scaling
manufacturing volume is less of a challenge than it might be for
other startups.

The company uses lithium-ion batteries from a number
of suppliers and plans to offer battery swapping options, some
measure of autonomous driving and
advanced connectivity features. 

The EV builder is based in Shanghai, but employs approximately
700 people at its U.S. headquarters in San Jose, California.

Nio Q3 financial update

Nio generated
$214 million in revenue
in the third quarter of 2018 with a
gross margin of negative 7.9 percent. Loss from operations was
$409 million, but the company still had more than $1.3 billion in
cash and cash equivalents as of September 30.  

Nio built a total of 4,206 units in the third quarter, compared
with 500 vehicles produced in the previous quarter. As a
reference, Tesla is building roughly 5,000 units per week,
according to estimates. 

This is an early-stage company that is going to lose enormous
sums of money over the coming quarters, as well as require
massive investments in manufacturing and R&D.

Nio lost $758 million in 2017 and has lost $911 million this
year, so far. All of its current business is in China.

Nio issued guidance for the fourth quarter of between 6,700 and
7,000 vehicles delivered and total revenues of between $418
million and $436 million. 

Why would Warrior leave Nio now?

China is the world’s largest EV market, with 579,000 electric
passenger cars sold last year. Nio plans go after the U.S. EV
market after it establishing itself at home.

Nio is setting itself up to ride China’s surging growth
in vehicle electrification (while Tesla has struggled to access
the Chinese auto market due to tariffs, high prices and various
self-inflicted wounds).

This is just the beginning of the EV boom and the start of the EV
manufacturing wave. It’s going to come from Chinese companies
like Nio and heavyweight BYD, American companies like Tesla and
Proterra, and the European and Japanese automotive

Nio’s shares are up from its IPO strike price, driven by big
revenue growth and EV optimism — although the stock price
declined a few percentage points on news of the CEO departure. The
stock stands at $7.71 per share and is up in after-hours

So, with global market tailwinds favoring vehicle
electrification, why is Padmasree Warrior leaving this
well-financed, well-positioned EV aspirant? It has to be more than
“personal interests.”

Source: FS – Transport 2
Padmasree Warrior, US Chief of Potential Tesla Rival, Suddenly Resigns

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