Chinese EV firm unveils Nio ET7 as new flagship

Chinese EV firm Nio has revealed its first flagship, the ET7, which is due to go on sale in the country in 2022 with a range of more than 1000 kilometres and offering autonomous driving features.

The firm, founded by Chinese tech entrepreneur Williams Li, currently offers a range of electric SUVs and crossovers aimed at the fast-growing Chinese premium market. It also has aspirations to eventually expand globally. While Nio, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange, has struggled for funding, it secured a major investment last year and has experienced a surge in sales in China. The firm sold 36,721 vehicles last year, a 111 per cent year-on-year increase.

As with its existing models the new Tesla Model S rival, revealed at the firm’s annual Nio Day event, is built on a lightweight steel and aluminium chassis, and is powered by two electric motors.

A front-mounted permanent magnet motor produces 179kW, with an induction motor on the rear axle offering 300kW. The two units have a maximum combined output of 480kW, and also offers 850Nm. That gives the ET7 a 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds.

Nio says more a more efficient electric drive system, lightweight chassis and a drag coefficient of 0.23Cd have helped to improve the range offered from the silicon carbide batteries.

The ET7 will be offered with three battery sizes. The entry level 70kWh unit offers a 500-kilometre range, with a 100kWh version offering 700 kilometres. The top 150kWh battery has a claimed range of more than 1000 kilometres. All the figures are calculated using the Chinese NEDC system. The machine features Nio’s battery swap technology, allowing drivers to switch battery packs at special stations to avoid charging times.

Nio says the ET7 also features a range of advanced driver assistance features that will enable it to offer autonomous driving. The system uses 33 high-performance sensing units, which it says are built into the body of the car for optimum design, with its autonomous systems powered by an advanced computer system capable of generating 8GB of data per second.

The ET7 is 5098mm long, 1987mm wide and 1505mm high, with a wheelbase of 3060mm. As with existing Nio models, the interior dashboard is dominated by a large touchscreen – 12.8-inch in this case – which can be operated by Nio’s Nomi in-car AI system. It also features a 23-speaker sound system as standard.

The ET7 is due to launch in China early in 2022, with a starting price the equivalent of AUD$89,000, although this can be reduced by opting to pay for batteries through a subscription service. While 19 of the ET7’s driver assistance features will be standard, accessing the full AD as a Service feature will require a monthly subscription of around AUD$140.

James Attwood

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