Nio is a Chinese electric automaker that sees itself as competing with Tesla, there and elsewhere soon with its ET7, a big electric SUV that Nio sees as competing with the Model S. On Saturday, Nio unveiled the car it thinks can take on the Model 3.
That car is the ET5, which Nio says it expects to begin to deliver next September. I’m inclined to believe that’s possible because Nio has already delivered over 80,000 cars since the start of 2021.
The all-electric ET5 was revealed by founder and CEO William Li at the annual Nio Day event in Suzhou on Saturday. With a starting price of 328,000 yuan ($51,450) before government subsidies, and 258,000 yuan ($40,463) with a leased battery, the most basic variant is designed to drive 550 kilometers (342 miles) on a single charge. The post-subsidy price for an entry-level Tesla Model 3 in China is 255,652 yuan ($40,095).
The ET5 will be available in September. Its launch follows that of Nio’s first and more-expensive ET7 electric sedan — which Li sees as a rival to Tesla’s Model S — and where deliveries are scheduled to start in March. Nio is also expected to unveil another electric vehicle in 2022.
“ET5 is a key product of us as Nio has long focused on sports utility vehicles,” Li in an interview with Bloomberg on Saturday. “We’ve been looking forward to a model with a more suitable price and a larger consumer base.”
Nio is now in Norway, and also says that it plans to go to Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark next year, and over 25 countries or regions by 2025. It also wants to come to the U.S. at some point, but for now appears to be going to countries with the most EV demand, because Nio is also a business. Here’s how Nio describes the ET5 in its release, and I hope you’re used to automakers focusing on interiors, driver assistance features, and aerodynamics, because that is almost all there is to differentiate with EVs.
Carrying on the concept of the second living room, the interior of the ET5 is sophisticated with a warm touch. Clean+ sustainable fabric forms a relaxing cocooning ambiance, and improves the acoustic performance of the cabin. The smart invisible air vents keep the instrument panel visually neat and delicate. Entering and exiting will always be at ease with the soft-close doors with frameless windows and flush door handles, and the UWB digital key and smart key.
PanoCinema is the panoramic and immersive digital cockpit on the ET5, featuring AR and VR technologies. NIO has partnered with NREAL, an innovative AR device company, to jointly develop AR glasses exclusive to NIO, which can project an effective screensize of 201-inch at 6 meters. NIO also collaborates with Nolo to jointly develop the NIO VR Glasses, with ultra-thin Pancake lenses, realizing binocular 4K display effect. The 10.2-inch HDR instrument cluster further boosts the vividness of images. Enabled by the cutting-edge hardware, continuous software development and content creation, elevated by the all-new 256-color curtain ambient lighting and Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 surround sound system, PanoCinema creates an exclusive space where users can indulge all their senses.
NIO ET5 comes with the latest NIO Autonomous Driving (NAD). With NIO Aquila Super Sensing and NIO Adam Super Computing, the car will gradually achieve a safe and reassuring autonomous driving experience in scenarios such as highways, urban areas, parking and battery swapping. NAD’s full features will be gradually rolled out after development validation, and be available to users via a RMB 680 monthly subscription under ADaaS (AD as a Service) .
Speed and range, of course, also matter with EVs, and, in that department, Nio says that the ET5 goes from zero to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds, and that it goes from 62 mph to zero in less than 34 meters. The ET5 will be offered with different battery sizes, with a 342-mile range on the low end and over 620 miles of range with the biggest battery. These are the kind of numbers Nio will need to have a chance against Tesla, who has had a very long head start. Eventually, this might really get interesting.