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Previously on the Brink of Bankruptcy: Neo's Rise to Become a Chinese EV Giant!

Hey there, folks! Today, I've got an incredible story to share with you. It's all about a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer called Neo and how it transformed from nearly going bankrupt to becoming one of the biggest players in the EV industry, giving even Tesla a run for its money! So, grab a cup of coffee and join me on this fascinating journey as we delve into the incredible rise of Neo.


Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Neo's Humble Beginnings
  • The Turning Point: Next EV to Neo
  • On the Brink of Bankruptcy
  • A Government Lifeline
  • Climbing the Ranks
  • Neo's Unique Approach to EVs
  • The Battery Swap Revolution
  • The Challenge of Limited Swap Stations
  • Neo's Charging Truck Solution
  • Neo's Impressive Vehicle Lineup
  • The SUV Craze in China
  • Neo's Expansion into the Saloon Market
  • Neo's Partnership with Jac Motors
  • Beyond Cars: Neo as a Lifestyle Brand
  • The Future of Neo


1. Introduction: Neo's Humble Beginnings

Neo, previously known as Next EV, started its journey as a Chinese startup with a vision to make a mark in the automotive industry. Drawing inspiration from the legendary Tesla, Neo took a different direction to gain traction. Their first initiative was the creation of a limited-edition electric supercar called the EP9, developed in collaboration with their Formula E division. The EP9 boasted an impressive range of over 260 miles and showcased the company's capabilities. It marked a turning point for Next EV, which soon rebranded as Neo.


2. The Turning Point: Next EV to Neo

With the successful launch of the EP9, Neo garnered attention and acclaim. The company realized that it had the potential to revolutionize the EV market. The EP9's limited run of six hypercars, sold to investors for over $3 million each, and the subsequent sale of ten models to the public propelled Neo into the spotlight.


3. On the Brink of Bankruptcy

As the years went by, Neo faced a financial crisis, and by 2019, it was on the verge of bankruptcy. The situation seemed dire for the promising EV manufacturer, but fate had a different plan in store.


4. A Government Lifeline

In early 2020, Neo received a lifeline in the form of a massive $1.4 billion investment from the Chinese government. This injection of funds saved the company from bankruptcy but came at the cost of a 24.1% stake now owned by the government. Neo's future began to brighten, and it rapidly climbed the ranks to become the fifth most valuable automaker globally, following Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and another Chinese car manufacturer, BYD.


5. Climbing the Ranks

While Tesla held the top position as the leading EV manufacturer in China, Neo was determined to challenge its dominance. Tesla's success rested heavily on its extensive supercharger network, boasting over 300 sites across mainland China. However, Neo had a different strategy for success—a concept known as vehicle battery separation.


6. Neo's Unique Approach to EVs

Neo envisioned a future where the battery was seen as a separate entity from the car itself. The concept was simple: by removing a depleted battery and replacing it with a fully charged one, drivers could be back on the road within minutes. Tesla had previously experimented with this idea back in 2013 at a trial center in California, but ultimately, their focus shifted to superchargers due to their popularity. Neo, on the other hand, doubled down on battery swap technology.


7. The Battery Swap Revolution

In 2018, Neo opened its first battery swap station in China, marking a significant milestone in the company's journey. The process was straightforward: users could book a battery swap through an app, and upon arrival, a staff member would guide their vehicle into the shelter. Laser-guided machinery would then remove the existing battery pack, send it underground for charging, and replace it with a fully charged one. Within five to ten minutes, the driver would be back on the road. Neo offered a subscription service for battery swaps, allowing car owners to pay a monthly fee for up to six battery changes at any of their facilities.


8. The Challenge of Limited Swap Stations

While the battery swap stations provided an incredibly fast solution, there was one drawback—the limited number of swap stations available. Currently, there are only around 160 stations in operation. This poses challenges for those who live far away from a station or travel outside the catchment area. To address this issue, Neo also enabled users to charge their vehicles through domestic or fast charging outlets, ensuring a backup plan for any unexpected situations.


9. Neo's Charging Truck Solution

Neo went above and beyond to cater to its customers' needs. In situations where a driver runs out of power in the middle of nowhere, Neo's app allows users to request a charging truck equipped with the necessary equipment to recharge the car's battery. Even these charging trucks are powered by electricity, aligning with Neo's commitment to sustainability.


10. Neo's Impressive Vehicle Lineup

Neo's success extended beyond its innovative charging solutions. The company boasts an impressive range of electric vehicles, starting with the ES6, a midsize SUV priced at 35,8000 Yuan (approximately $55,000). With its powerful performance, reaching nearly 550 horsepower and 0 to 62 mph in just 4.7 seconds, the ES6 offers a range of up to 380 miles on a single charge. Neo's lineup also includes the ES8, a larger SUV with seating for six or seven passengers, offering a range of 360 miles and a slightly slower acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds.


11. The SUV Craze in China

SUVs and electric vehicles have gained immense popularity in China, with over 500 companies registered to produce new energy vehicles. However, only a handful have achieved the level of success Neo has enjoyed. Chinese drivers who opt for battery swap electric vehicles are currently eligible for subsidies of up to $3,500, although the government has indicated that these incentives will be phased out soon. Neo has also ventured into the competitive saloon market with its ET7, featuring an impressive range of 620 miles and an acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds. Safety and self-driving technology take center stage in the ET7, with a comprehensive suite of advanced features.


12. Neo's Expansion into the Saloon Market

Neo's partnership with Chinese state-owned Jac Motors has enabled the company to utilize their assembly factories. Thanks to this collaboration, Neo recently celebrated the production of its 50,000th vehicle. The battery swap technology has proven its reliability, with an astonishing 650,000 battery swaps carried out, and Neo cars collectively covering 800 million miles on the roads.


13. Beyond Cars: Neo as a Lifestyle Brand

Neo's ambition extends far beyond being just an auto manufacturer. The company envisions itself as a complete lifestyle and tech solution provider. In addition to the battery swap stations and charging infrastructure, Neo has developed a network of Neo Houses. These houses serve as hubs for engaging with customers, providing various professional services such as bookable meeting rooms, libraries, and forums. Neo Houses also offer spaces for relaxation, including coffee shops, lounge areas, and even a joy camp for children.


14. Neo's Focus on China

Despite having offices in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Neo's cars, charging network, and lifestyle choices are currently available exclusively in China. The company has made no immediate plans for international expansion. However, with the ever-changing landscape of the automotive industry and increasing demand for electric vehicles, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Neo beyond China's borders.



Neo, formerly known as Next EV, has emerged as a major player in the Chinese electric vehicle market. From its humble beginnings with the limited edition EP9 supercar to its innovative battery swap technology and expanding lineup of electric vehicles, Neo has positioned itself as a formidable competitor to Tesla and other established automakers. The Chinese government's significant investment and Neo's commitment to fast charging solutions have played crucial roles in its rapid growth. As the demand for electric vehicles continues to rise and technological advancements reshape the automotive industry, Neo's success story serves as an inspiration and a testament to the potential of the electric vehicle revolution.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


1. Is Neo a Chinese company?

Yes, Neo is a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer based in China.

2. How did Neo overcome financial difficulties? 

Neo faced financial difficulties in 2019 but was saved by a 1.4 billion dollar investment from the Chinese government in early 2020, which helped the company avoid bankruptcy.

3. How does Neo's battery swap technology work?

Neo's battery swap stations allow users to book a swap through an app. When a customer arrives, the existing battery pack is removed from the vehicle and replaced with a fully charged one in a matter of minutes.

4. How many battery swap stations does Neo have?

Currently, Neo has around 160 battery swap stations in operation.

5. Can Neo vehicles be charged through other means?

Yes, Neo vehicles can also be charged through domestic or fast charging outlets, providing an alternative for those who do not have access to a battery swap station.

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