Materials Science

BASF’s coatings solutions help NIO shape new generation of smart electric cars in China

With its coatings solutions, BASF has helped to create an unforgettable look and unparalleled performance for the ES8 – the high performance electric Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) from NIO, a multinational electric vehicle company headquartered in China. The seven-seater electric SUV uses BASF’s coatings solutions for the surface pre-treatment and all coatings layers. The ES8 includes BASF’s waterborne coatings technologies, as well as Oxsilan from BASF’s Chemetall brand, an advanced thin-film technology for metal protection and waterborne coatings.

“Visually, the coating creates the first impression of a vehicle – it is the essence of a vehicle’s intrinsic style. But at the same time, the coating must protect and enhance the vehicle’s performance. Coatings for electric vehicles require unique expertise in both of these aspects, and BASF can offer solutions to meet the expectations for a new automotive generation. For example, the pre-treatment and coating materials that BASF supplies to NIO are specifically customized to match the ES8’s full aluminum body, which NIO adopted to save weight and thus to maximize the driving range” said Nils Lessmann, Vice President and General Manager of BASF Shanghai Coatings Co., Ltd. “As a strategic partner, we collaborated with the NIO design team based in Germany throughout the design and development process for the ES8, as well as during production development in China. Our global key account team structure enabled design support directly via BASF’s Automotive Color Design team in Münster, Germany, followed by the transfer of this jointly developed approach to the local team in China for localization.”

According to a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, worldwide sales of electrified vehicles and plug-in hybrids will rise to 11 million in 2025 compared to 1.1 million in 2017. The growth will be largely driven by strong demand from China. The market for electrified vehicles is also picking up speed, supported by the Chinese government’s effort to combat pollution in cities and advance the accessibility of charging infrastructure.

“With the increasing demand from automotive manufacturers for smart electrified vehicle models with a greater driving range, we are committed to supporting the growth of our customers and taking an active role in developing the Chinese automotive market,” added Lessmann. “Our new, state-of-the-art automotive coatings plant in Shanghai will also serve the increasing industry demand for innovative and sustainable coatings solutions to meet the stringent emissions regulations.”

The ES8 is produced at NIO’s world-class, fully automated factories in its manufacturing site in Hefei, China. “We hope that more people will be interested in smart electric vehicles. By presenting the most advanced products and services, we can achieve our vision of bringing back blue skies,” said William Li, NIO Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.