GACNio, a joint venture between China’s GAC Group and electric vehicle start-up Nio, has unveiled a new brand for its forthcoming electric vehicles.

GAC-Nio unveiled its first electric concept vehicle earlier this week, a battery-powered SUV, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The new brand, Hycan, is aimed at China’s mid-market segment and the vehicles will be priced slightly higher than equivalent models from GAC New Energy but lower than Nio-branded models.

The joint venture was established in April of last year, with the partners encouraged by policies by the Ministry of Information Technology promoting more cooperation between carmakers to develop and produce new-energy vehicles (NEV) and improve efficiency and quality within this segment.

CEO of GAC-Nio Liao Bing told reporters: “Hycan-branded vehicles will benefit from the global resources of GAC and Nio, including technical teams based in Beijing, Shanghai and Silicon Valley in the US – where the GAC’s R&D Centre and Nio’s internet of vehicles R&D team are based.”

GAC-Nio completed the first phase of construction of a new CNY45bn (US$6.5bn) manufacturing plant in GAC’s NEV industrial park in Guangzhou in January. The plant’s ultimate designated production capacity is 400,000 vehicles per year.

Mr Liao said he expects the first vehicle to be launched on the market by the end of the year.