The Nio ET7 Wants to Be China’s Tesla Model S
Photo credit: Nio
The 2022 Nio ET7 sedan promises a choice of three battery options, one with a range of over 600 miles.
Nio plans to offer a solid-state battery pack with 150 kWh in 2022.
EV manufacturers are using replaceable battery stations, but the volume is still below Tesla's.
EV automaker Nio may not be a household name in the U.S. and it hasn't announced any plans to sell EVs in our market, but it's already on its third electric model across the Pacific and is busy filling out a roster that will soon be Teslas could compete. And its executive-sized flagship, which is slated to be its fourth offering, was just revealed ahead of a scheduled production debut later this year.
What will the ET7 offer?
For starters, two battery options with 70 kWh and 100 kWh of juice, the first being suitable for a range of over 311 miles and the second for more than 435 miles. Like other large electric sedans, it also features two-engine four-wheel drive that delivers 644 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, and allows for feats of artifacts from 3.9 seconds from 0 to 62 mph, among other things.
In addition to these two batteries, a 150 kWh solid-state battery monster with a range of over 600 miles or over 1,000 kilometers will also be available from next year. This will be something that the world of series electric vehicles has never seen before and that others may not have seen for a while, even if German and Japanese competitors make an effort to set up their own electric models. But we'll wait for this mega-battery to drop first before crowning it Range King. For now, we're only going to look at the design and interior of the ET7.
Photo credit: Nio
The exterior design of the ET7 is remarkably balanced and modern, but with a moderate touch of Tesla style cues, including a fastback roofline and flush door handles. A shark-like front fascia with thin LED headlights positioned almost flat on the fenders gives the sedan a sleek and aggressive look that is offset and offset by triangular vents on the front of the car. At the rear of the ET7 is a wraparound cluster of taillights that extends over the tail fairing and a chiseled, convex rear shape topped by a modest spoiler bill. With a drag coefficient of just 0.23, the ET7 is becoming one of the slipperiest cars on the road today, aided by elements like the aerodynamic wheel design.
On the inside of the ET7's center stack is a 12.8-inch central screen, while the driver gets another 10.2-inch digital instrument panel that is also separate from the dashboard and hides the vents in place which connects the upper half to the lower half. The interior is clad in renewable karuun rattan. In addition to ventilation and heating, all seats have a massage function, while the interior has no fewer than 23 loudspeakers. The oval head on the dashboard is the interface unit for a voice recognition system called NOMI.
Photo credit: Nio
We're not done with Tesla comparisons yet, and if you've spotted something on the leading edge of the sedan's roof by now, pat yourself on the back, as this is indeed an integrated sensor bulge for a semi-autonomous driver-assist system. The sedan will have a total of 33 sensors around the perimeter, including 11 cameras that see the world in 8 megapixels, as well as lidar, radar and ultrasonic sensors.
The charging process of the new sedan will also include an innovation that has not yet been used in electric vehicles. Owners can charge the sedan's battery just like a normal electric vehicle ... but they can also swap out the entire battery at special automated stations operated by Nio. That's right: instead of charging a vehicle's battery, owners can have it swapped for a fully charged one at one of these stations. The removed battery is then charged by the station and placed in another vehicle visiting the station. Nio estimates that these stations will be able to execute more than 300 swaps per 24 hour period.
Photo credit: Nio
If this sounds like a lot of tech in an electric sedan, you are not wrong, especially when it comes to the battery swap stations. This is not a solution that an EV manufacturer with a presence in the US has been seriously considering introducing due to infrastructure requirements and the current number (and demand for) simple DC fast charging stations. And we don't see this technology as easy to use in any country, as its main goal is to reduce loading times for impatient drivers.
However, if Nio offers even two-thirds of those features, starting at $ 69,000 for the cheapest version of the ET7, then Tesla should be concerned from a technology, if not a volume, perspective. In December, Nio delivered 2,009 units of its ES8 electric SUV, 2,493 units of its smaller ES5 electric SUV and 2,505 units of the EC6 coupe-style SUV. Yes, this is a three-model range that consists entirely of SUVs. A total of 17,353 vehicles were delivered in the fourth quarter of 2020. This corresponds to a growth of 112.6% compared to the previous year, with a total of 43,728 vehicles being delivered in 2020. That's roughly a tenth of the number of vehicles Tesla shipped worldwide in 2020.
But we're also old enough to remember a time when Tesla also had an annual production volume at this stadium, and it wasn't that long ago. And when the Model S starts its tenth year on the assembly line next year with no replacement in sight and a lot of competition on the way, maybe it will be Nio that will give it its biggest competition in the biggest consumer market for years to come World creates years.
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