Another so-called “Tesla-killer” has been unleashed on the global market, this time in China by EV upstart Nio at its “Nio Day” on Saturday, when it also announced it will expand into more countries in Europe.
The ET5 is Nio’s latest offering, and with ultra-long range battery options designed to outlast even the top-range Tesla Model S, and a sweeping appearance at the back not unlike the sporty Porsche Taycan, there have already been plenty of comparisons drawn to other electric best-sellers.
Expected to commence deliveries in September, the Nio ET5 will sit closer in pricing to Tesla’s high-performance Model 3, starting at RMB328,000 ($A72,300 converted) – not including China’s “new energy vehicle” subsidies – for a “short-range” variant with 75kWh battery and 550km driving range according to CLTC, China’s own driving range testing cycle.
A driver can also take up Nio’s “battery-as-a-service” option to further reduce the sticker price by RMB70,000 ($A15,430).
Nio will also offer the ET5 with a 100kWh battery offering 700km range and a 150kWh battery with 1,000km range. That’s very impressive, but keep in mind that China’s CLTC cycle aims to capture the unique driving conditions of its cities, highways and suburbs, characterised by heavy traffic and hence lower energy usage.
(For this reason, it is closer to the infamous NEDC cycle, colloquially referred to as “Not Even Damn Close” because in Australia, the stated range is not achievable in real-world driving conditions.)
Nevertheless, the ET5 appears to have been well received – so much so that just a day after opening the order books, Li reportedly told Chinese media that it is already the company’s most pre-ordered vehicle.
Continuing the high-performance genes of Nio, the ET5 accelerates from zero to 100 kilometres in 4.3 seconds. It uses Nio’s high-performance four-piston aluminium alloy integrated cast calipers. The braking distance from 100 kilometres to zero is 33.9 meters; the drag coefficient is as low as 0.24.
The front and rear suspensions of the ET5 adopt a five-link independent suspension. The front suspension has a virtual kingpin structure design. The whole car has 8 different driving modes, and the front and rear weight ratio has achieved a 50:50 ratio. The height of the center of gravity of the car is 482.6mm, with an ultra-wide track of 1,685mm, and the anti-rollover coefficient reaches 1.7.
Nio ET5 is equipped with Nio’s latest autonomous driving technology, NAD (NIO Autonomous Driving). Through Nio’s super-sensing system Aquila and super-computing platform known as “Adam”, ET5 will gradually realise high-speed, urban, parking – and even autonomous battery swap scenarios, said the company.
Nio ET5 owners will be able to access autonomous driving via a subscription model dubbed ADaaS (AD-as-a-Service) for 680 yuan ( about$A150) per month, with features gradually rolled out as has been the case with Tesla.
The interior space design of ET5 continues the “second living room” concept seen in the ET7 sedan; not only in terms of spaciousness but also in terms of entertainment.
Here, Nio is taking in-car entertainment to the edge, adding a panoramic digital cockpit that uses augmented reality (AR) technology and glasses developed with AR company Nreal, which can project a 6-metre viewing distance (equivalent to a 201-inch large screen, it says); as well as virtual reality glasses developed with Nolo.
In addition, a 10.2-inch digital screen using HDR technology offers lifelike images. Equipped with cutting-edge hardware systems, continuous software development and content expansion, combined with a new 256-colour “digital light curtain” and 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos sound system, Nio’s PanoCinema promises to bring a unique experience to the ET5.
ET5 will be offered in nine colours, including white, blue, pink, yellow, orange, green, grey, deep blue and black.
Sounds impressive, and unlike many electric models manufactured in China, it won’t only be available there. After entering the Norwegian market earlier in 2021, Nio will officially land in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark in 2022, with plans to expand further in 2025 into 25 countries and regions as well as add more charging and battery swap stations including along the historical Silk Road route from China to Europe.
Exactly which other countries and regions are included in this expansion was not made clear, although one might hope Australia makes an appearance on that list considering the range, tech and potential pricing if BaaS also becomes available locally.
And it would be likely to meet local safety standards: Nio says the ET5 is designed in accordance with C-NCAP and Euro NCAP five-star safety standards, with the latter being the foundation of our own ANCAP standards.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.