Watch out, Tesla. Shanghai-based EV maker Nio has just unveiled the firm’s first-ever sedan – the ET7 – at the Nio Day 2020 (don’t ask, we don’t know either) event this past Saturday, and it looks every bit as impressive as it is on a technical level.
In terms of dimensions, the Nio ET7 is similar, if not just a touch larger than the Tesla Model S. At the front, the ET7 features Nio’s signature “X-Bar” design language with the double-dash daytime-running lights up top separated from the main beam below (think Mitsubishi).
Being an electric car, the entire front fascia is also almost devoid of any air intakes, with only one at the bottom to help cool the batteries. The smooth lines, paired to the fastback-styled silhouette, resulted in an overall drag coefficient of just 0.23 Cd!
Just like the Tesla Model S, the Nio ET7 also features the self-retracting door handles to help smoothen air flow. Moving to the rear, Nio’s “heartbeat” tail lights now extends across the entire width of the car, and features a 3D “crystal-like” effect.
Inside, the Nio ET7 once again takes on the standard EV formula with a minimalist cabin, headlined by a portrait 12.8-inch AMOLED centre screen powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon’s Automotive Cockpit Platform System on Chip (SoC), which supports 5G, V2X, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6 and Ultra Wide Band (UWB) connectivity technologies.
The ET7 also features Nio’s cute Nomi digital assistant, taking the form of an orb placed smack-centre on top of the dashboard. Aside from the digital eyes, the AI-powered digital assistant also comes with a four microphone arrays and a dedicated NPU (Neural Processing Unit) core for enhanced voice recognition and accurate sound localization, where it will be able to detect which passenger issued the command.
The “second living room” concept of the ET7’s interior also features the Karuun renewable rattan material on its trim pieces, while the air vents are hidden neatly in a slit right above the full-width trim piece – just like the ones on the Tesla Model 3. Other standard equipment on the interior include a 23-speaker surround sound system, smart fragrance and air filtration system, and heated, ventilated, and massage seats for all seats.
Good looks and tech isn’t the only thing that the Nio ET7 has going for it either. Underneath all that bling, the sleek sedan is built on a lightweight steel and aluminium chassis, and is powered by two electric motors – one on each axle.
The front permanent magnet motor is rated for an output of 180 kW, while the larger motor at the rear is capable of generating up to 300 kW of output. Combined, the Nio ET7 makes a peak output of 653 hp (480 kW) and 850 Nm of torque, enough to propel the electric sedan to 100 km/h from a standstill in just 3.9 seconds.
But of course, fast acceleration times aren’t the be-all, end-all in a luxury sedan like this. In that sense, the ET7 is equipped with a “smart air suspension and continuous damping control” set up, which even ties in with the navigation system and on-board sensors to adjust the damping forces on the fly, resulting in a smoother ride over bumpy roads.
The Nio ET7 will be offered in three different battery configurations, starting with a 70 kWh pack that boasts a range of over 500 km (based on the NEDC test cycle), followed by a 100 kWh configuration with a 700 km range. Step up to the range-topping 150 kWh version, and the Nio ET7 can supposedly drive “over 1,000 km” without charging!
While the range is impressive, Nio customers who despise charging vehicles can also make use of Nio’s battery swap service, with special battery stations nationwide allowing drivers to switch out their depleted batteries for a freshly-charged pack, avoiding charging times completely.
The Nio ET7 also features a range of advanced driver assistance features, including the Nio Autonomous Driving (NAD) full-stack autonomous driving capability. The NAD system is fed with real-time data coming from 33 high-performance sensing units, built into an aerodynamic package on top of the front windshield, capable of generating 8 GB of data per second!
To process the huge amount of data, the ET7’s brain – affectionately called Adam – features four Nvidia Drive Orin SoCs totalling to a 1,016 TOPS of computing power to ensure all mission-critical functions are carried out in an instant.
Prices for the Nio ET7 starts from RMB448,000 (~RM279k) for the 70 kWh version. Customers looking to make use of the battery-switching BaaS (Battery-as-a-Service) plan can enjoy the Nio ET7 at a reduced price of RMB378,000 (~RM236k), though a monthly battery fee applies.
Taking a page out of several leading carmakers, the full functions of the NAD are also only offered through a monthly subscription service, priced at RMB680/month (~RM420). The Nio ET7 is now available for pre-order in China via the Nio mobile app, with deliveries estimated to begin Q1 2022.