Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
We like to make fun of Tesla whenever an opportunity presents itself, which happens quite often. Less than a month ago, Elon Musk said the currently non-existent Tesla Cybertruck could be used as a boat, which forced the government to beg people not to use the Cybertrucks they don't have as boats.
But credit where credit is due, and one can't ignore Tesla's production figures during the semiconductor shortage crisis. Tesla makes a large chunk of semiconductor chips in-house, allowing them to adapt them for specific tasks.
This modern approach caught the eye of the government earlier this year, and now it has inspired Nio, a Chinese EV startup, as well. According to China's LatePost, Nio is in the process of moving its chip department in-house, copying Tesla's contemporary automotive tactics.
According to the report, Nio has hired a team of 300 experts to design self-driving and LiDAR chips. The so-called chip team started forming in 2020 as part of the smart driving hardware division. Nio poached talent from several well-known technology companies, including Xiaomi, OPPO, and Huawei, to create this division.
Nio's chip team is still in the development phase, but production could start as early as 2024.
There is one key difference between Tesla and Nio, however. Tesla recently decided to stop putting radar and ultrasonic sensors in the Model 3 and Model Y. Future models equipped with Autopilot and Full Self-Driving will rely solely on a camera-based system called Tesla Vision.
Like Mercedes-Benz, Nio believes LiDAR is a must.
An in-house chip department will put Nio at the forefront of technology, right beside Tesla. The latter owns an artificial intelligence-based supercomputer, which can design cars using nothing more than text input.
Both companies will also be highly adaptable and can change direction due to legislation much quicker.
But to say Nio is copying Tesla would be a disservice to the brand. Nio first made headlines with the EP9 hypercar, which decimated the Nurburgring record in 2017. Nio also introduced the brand's battery-swapping technology, which solves many EV-related problems.
Its most impressive feat so far has to be the ET5 sedan, which has a claimed range of 621 miles.