EV Leaders: Matt Galvin, Managing Director at NIO UK

With over two decades in the automotive industry, Matt Galvin has held key senior roles at major global manufacturers such as BMW, Jardine Motors Group, Renault UK, and Mercedes-Benz UK. Joining Volvo Car UK in 2015, he ascended to the position of Commercial Operations Director overseeing some the brand’s biggest growth years across new and used cars in its UK history. Ultimately his work resulted in the UK becoming the largest new and used car sales market across EMEA in 2021- a first in Volvo’s history. In September 2022, Galvin brought his strategic leadership and omnichannel sales development expertise to NIO, where he is preparing for the brand’s market entry to the UK to ensure NIO users receive an unparalleled experience through exceptional customer service. He is also responsible for NIO’s sales across 5 European markets having launched initially into Norway, and more recently celebrated the 1st anniversary of sales in Sweden, Netherland, Germany and Denmark.

What inspired your interest in electric vehicles, and when did you first become passionate about them?

As a self-professed petrol head, the idea of alternative fuels intrigued me. I had my first electric propulsion experience back in 2012 at a media launch for the Renault Zoe. I was impressed by the instant torque and serene driving experience despite it having no windows! 

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My next experience didn’t come until much later in 2016 when I took delivery of my first plug-in hybrid Volvo. I quickly realised that the stats were true, and indeed, most daily driving was short enough in mileage terms to be completed on EV power alone in a PHEV. I loved the quiet driving experience and it amplified a sense of luxury that you simply don’t get driving an ICE car. I also felt proud that I was doing something to reduce my tailpipe emissions especially in urban areas where asthma rates among children were increasing, an issue that affects my own kids. I started using a full EV back in 2020 and ever since, have had one in my life. I wholeheartedly believe in the environmental benefits EVs bring, and the role they play in contributing to a more sustainable future.

What is NIO UK’s current market strategy, and how does it differentiate itself from other EV manufacturers in the UK? What is the long-term vision?

NIO is a user enterprise that produces premium smart electric vehicles that deliver experiences beyond expectations. Putting the user’s interest first is our number one priority and it is this focus on service and community that differentiates us from other EV brands in the UK. Our second, and probably most talked about USB, is our chargeable, swappable, upgradable approach to batteries. We have over 2,000 power swap stations worldwide delivering up to 60,000 battery swaps per day in under 4 minutes per swap. This technology aims to deliver a recharging experience beyond that of refuelling, and to my mind, answers the question that everyone has been asking. “Show me an electric car that I can recharge as quickly as I can refuel, and I’m interested”. Well, that’s exactly what NIO can and does do, tens of thousands of times a day across the world. In addition to this, you have the option to temporarily upgrade your battery should you have a short term need for a longer range such as when going on vacation. You simply head to your nearest swap station, book an upgrade, let the machine do the swap and pay as you go for its use, returning it at the end of your vacation. This eliminates the need to opt for the largest battery pack at purchase, simply for the 2-3 times a year you really need it, and therefore lessens the impact on the earth’s resources at point of manufacture.

How does NIO plan to address the growing competition in the EV market?

I don’t believe that all EV brands can or will survive if their plan is built upon price competitiveness alone. Of course consumers are looking for good value for money, but I also know that more and more in today’s society, people value great service and products that can make their lives easier. One of the most precious resources we have as human beings is time, and NIO’s battery swapping technology removes one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption – I can’t/don’t have time to charge. This is NIO’s competitive edge along with our steadfast focus on service and community.

How is NIO extending its influence beyond the realm of EVs to shape its impact in the broader industry?

Removing the barriers to mass adoption of EVs is critical if we are to create a more sustainable planet for us all. I’ve talked in depth about our battery swap technology and in order to help remove that barrier, we are collaborating with other EV manufacturers to make sure our technology can be used on a broader scale to bolster global EV infrastructure. Our recent collaboration with Geely (one of the biggest cars brands in the world) underlines our commitment to sharing this technology. Collaborators win, but it’s not too often this happens with competitors!

What sustainability initiatives is NIO undertaking, both in terms of its products and corporate practices?

We take part in, and fund, a number of green initiatives on a global scale. One of the most recent is our Clean Parks project in Denmark that aims to create improved local habitats for animals and plants and promote opportunities for the public to explore and experience nature sustainably. Together, the goal is to inspire the Danes to take better care of nature and have a greater positive impact.

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