The car manufacturer NIO is often referred to as the “Chinese Tesla”. Although the company was only founded in Shanghai in 2014, its more than 5,000 employees sold 44,000 vehicles of its three models last year. Currently, NIO’s vehicle lineup includes the seven-seat ES8 SUV, the smaller ES6 SUV and the EC6 Sportback.
At yesterday’s NIO Day in Chengdu, central China, the ET7, the group’s first electric sedan, was unveiled. The NIO ET7 is intended to compete with the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan. The new model can be ordered now via the NIO app. Deliveries will begin in early 2022.
Solid-state battery and battery swap system
Although the NIO ET7 will be significantly cheaper than models from Tesla, Porsche and co, the car has two concepts on board that have been missing from competitors.
One is the NIO ET7’s solid-state battery, which is said to have an energy density of up to 360 watt-hours per kilogram. The battery of the Tesla Model 3 only comes to 260 watt-hours per kilogram. With the same battery weight, the NIO ET7 therefore has a 40 percent higher capacity.
The smallest of the three configurable batteries is supposed to provide a range of up to 500 kilometers with 70 kilowatt hours. This is roughly equivalent to the range of the Tesla models. The medium battery (100 kilowatt hours) delivers up to 700 kilometers of range, and the largest battery (150 kilowatt hours) even up to 1,000 kilometers.
To avoid having to spend time charging the very large batteries in the car, the NIO ET7 has a swap system. NIO is currently building 500 charging stations in China that are designed to swap an empty battery in less than three minutes. Each station is expected to be able to swap 321 batteries per day.
Thanks to its long range and rapid battery swaps, this puts the NIO ET7 on the same level as cars with a conventional combustion engine when it comes to the long-distance mobility factor.
3.9 seconds from zero to one hundred
The NIO ET7’s other performance data is also impressive on paper. The luxury sedan has two electric motors and all-wheel drive. A permanent magnet motor produces 245 hp at the front axle, while a motor with 407 hp is installed at the rear axle.
The system output of 652 hp accelerates the NIO EZ7 from zero to one hundred kilometers in 3.9 seconds. A maximum of 200 kilometers per hour is possible. Despite its heavy weight, the braking distance of NIO ET7 is only 33.5 meters during standardized hazard braking from one hundred to zero kilometers.
NIO ET7 is larger than Tesla’s Model S
With a length of 5.10 meters and a width of almost two meters, the NIO ET7 is slightly larger than the Tesla Model S. In order to maintain the semblance of sustainability common in electric cars despite its large dimensions and arguably far excessive power for everyday use, the NIO ET7 has various equipment options such as decor on doors and consoles made of karuun rattan fibers. Most buyers of the sedan will also likely opt for the fully air-conditioned leather massage seats.
Nvidia components handle the controls
The computing power required to control the NIO ET7 is realized via four SoCs (system-on-a-chip) from Nvidia (Orin type). The car thus achieves 1,016 simultaneous tensor operations (TOPS) per second. The on-board electronics are controlled via a 12.8-inch touch display, which is installed in the center of the dashboard, similar to Tesla. This control is complemented by the NOMI artificial intelligence (AI) operating system.
Basic version with rental battery starting at 48,000 euros
In Germany, the basic version of the NIO ET7 can be ordered with a rental battery pack (190 euros per month) for 48,000 euros. With its own battery pack, the basic version costs 56,000 euros. The premium model is about 10,000 euros more expensive. The driver assistance systems also have to be rented separately each month. All available systems cost 90 euros per month as a package.