Tesla China rival Nio ups competition with new electric sedan

Andrew Cummings
January 11, 2021

Here is the 1st look at the new ET7 Sedan unveiled by Nio. It's certainly a sleek shape, only broken up by the numerous sensors that are linked to the ET7's autonomous driving system (more on that later).

Nio is now accepting pre-orders for the ET7 with a 5,000 yuan (RM3,118) deposit, which nets customers a 10,000 yuan (RM6,235) reduction from the purchase price. The auto has a total of 11 8-MP sensors, 1 high range LIDAR sensor, 12 Ultrasonic, and 5 mm-wave sensors.

Nio reveals the ET7 sedan and solid-state battery technology

Mind you, Nio doesn't appear to be making this battery itself, so that monster solid-state pack will likely be available to other manufacturers that work with the same supplier.

The battery pack located on the vehicle floor comes in several configurations, starting with a 70-kWh unit that provides over 500 km of range and followed by a 100-kWh unit for over 700 km. We now come to Nio Autonomous Driving (NAD), which is the company's self-driving system that will be offered as a subscription to customers for 680 yuan (RM424) a month. The Palo Alto, California-based company also started selling its roomier China-made Model Y SUV on January 1, which starts from 339,900 yuan. Delivery of the vehicles will start from the Q1 of 2022. Heating, ventilation, massage are all standard in both the front and rear seats, offering comfortable riding and driving experience to each occupant.

For comparison, Tesla's autopilot uses eight 1.2MP cameras in the Model S and the ET7 will have eleven 8MP cameras. As for the 100-kWh pack, it's 10 hours and 3.5 hours respectively.

The company has also introduced the new 150 KWh battery. And Elon Musk says Tesla is only a few years off its own high-density production battery, which is targeting a density over 400 Wh/kg to pack in even more energy. There will be 70 kWh and 100 kWh battery options available at launch (the same options existing NIO vehicles have), but later in 2022 NIO will introduce a 150 kWh battery option that will have a 1000 km (620 mi) range using the generous NEDC range test. Each station will keep 13 full packs in its inventory and will be capable of handling as many as 312 battery pack swaps per day. The ET7 is no exception and there are now 177 power swap stations in China that offer the service. And now the auto has also been integrated to park automatically in the swap station. It is estimated that 500 Power Swap Stations will be in operation nationwide by the end of 2021.

Nio did not immediately respond to a request for further details.

Nio has been doing really well in China. "NIO community is growing, while the love and trust from our users have always been the driving force behind our continued progress", said William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO. While Tesla "maintains its ambition to become a Volkswagen or Ford in electric-vehicle manufacturing, we will insist on producing premium cars", he said.

The ET7 is also a very slippery sedan and boasts a low drag coefficient of 0.23 Cd and NIO claims the ET7 is created to meet both China and Euro NCAP five-star safety standards.

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