27 Feb 21
18 Jan 21
NIO recently took the covers off its all-new flagship saloon car, the ET7, at its annual NIO Day event in Chengdu. To go with it, the Chinese electric vehicle company is also developing a revolutionary solid-state battery pack that will see the top-of-the-line model max out with a 621-mile range.
NIO's first saloon car, and its first autonomous driving model, the ET7, is due to go on sale in China in 2022, expanding its all-electric range of vehicles which includes the EP9 hypercar and the ES6 SUV.
The headline news is the car's astounding autonomy, with the range-topper coming in at some 621 miles (1,000km) using China's NEDC testing protocol from a 150kWh solid-state battery pack which would perch NIO atop the pile in terms of overall range and battery capacity from a consumer EV. There's also a 70kWh and 100kWh variant with 310 and 435 miles of range respectively.
All three variants will be compatible with NIO's unique network of Power Swap stations which allow owners to hot-swap their battery packs on the go, for a full-charged replacement, in just a few minutes - removing the need for charging on a journey entirely. There are currently 123 stations throughout China and NIO says it's increasing its network to more than 500 by the end of 2021.
The car is based on a lightweight steel and aluminium chassis - 5098mm long, 1987mm wide, 1505mm high, with a wheelbase of 3060mm - is driven by a pair of electric motors and has an ultra-slippery body with a drag coefficient of 0.23Cd - helping maximise the range on offer from whichever silicon carbide battery pack variant the customer chooses.
A permanent magnet motor at the front produces 241bhp, whilst an induction motor powering the rear wheels offers 402bhp for a combined total of 644bhp (480kW) and a mighty 627Nm of torque - launching the ET7 from 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in just 3.9 seconds.
The hump above the windscreen houses an array of 33 high performance sensing units - including LIDAR - which produce up to eight gigabytes of data per second. These combine to enable the ET7's full stack autonomous driving technology for a "safe, effortless point-to-point autonomous driving experience across urban, expressway, parking and battery-swapping scenarios". There are 19 driver assistance systems in all, with many coming as standard but the most cutting-edge features may require a monthly subscription fee.
Its minimalist interior uses Karuun sustainable rattan and looks extremely zen, with frameless windows, a panoramic roof and a cushy living room feel. Of course, there's a touchscreen - a 12.8-inch AMOLED centre display with high resolution and strong contrast and a 23-speaker 1,000W sound system.
The ET7 is due for launch in China in early 2022, with a starting price of around £51,000 - although a battery subscription service will reduce that base price for those that opt in.