Nio ET5 Orion to rival BMW i5 Touring EV


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The wagon version of Nio’s electric ET5 sedan has been shown in full ahead of its launch.

Chinese premium electric car brand Nio will name its new wagon the ET5 Orion, a source with knowledge of the matter has told Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar.

The rival to the upcoming BMW i5 Touring has been spotted on an advertising shoot in Norway ahead of its launch later this year and shows an elegant rebody of the ET5 sedan.

The ET5 Orion will be aimed at European customers and will also be made in right-hand drive for sale in the UK.

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“It’s a very beautiful car. It has a lot of interior space, including rear head room,” Nio CEO William Li told Autocar ahead of the Shanghai motor show last month.

Li last year said that Nio would launch in the UK at the end of 2023 and has already hired a managing director to oversee sales of the brand here: Matt Galvin, previously commercial operations boss at Volvo UK.

However, Nio has since pushed back the UK launch to 2024, the brand confirmed at the Shanghai show.

It will launch with the ET5 sedan – a rival to the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 – and the ET5 Orion.

Nio will also introduce battery-swap stations in the UK to allow owners to change their batteries in around five minutes, giving the brand a useful unique selling point if it can install a decent-size network.

Its cars will be exclusively leased, either for a fixed period or via a more flexible subscription model that will enable customers to hand back their vehicles with as little as a month’s notice.

Nio launched its brand globally in 2016 at an event in London but restricted sales initially to China. The brand moved to Europe in 2021 starting in Norway, before expanding last year to Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Nio will also launch a second car brand aimed at European consumers starting next year. Codenamed Firefly, it will sell smaller, more affordable cars built in China but sold in Europe first.

A launch date of next year will mean the ET5 Orion will compete with BMW’s planned wagon version of the electric i5 to become the first premium electric wagon.

The Nio estate is 4790mm long, 1960mm wide and 1499mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2888mm, according to Nio filings with China’s copyright authority.

Power is expected to mirror that of the ET5 sedan, with a dual-motor set-up giving all-wheel drive. In the sedan, the front asynchronous motor delivers 150kW and the rear synchronous motor 207kW for an overall system output of 353kW, together with up to 705Nm of torque.

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