Swappable batteries, 600+ bhp and competitive pricing - the new ES8 crossover is one ambitious project from Nio.
China-based electric vehicle (EV) startup, Nio, which made headlines earlier this year with its Nurburgring record-smashing EP9 hypercar, has revealed the key details of its upcoming ES8 crossover.
While the ES8 will nowhere be as brutal as the EP9, it has another trick up its sleeve. The ES8 is engineered along the lines of the famous Tesla Model X, but its projected price tag - at least in China - is about the half of its American rival. Media reports suggest that Chinese customers will be able to buy the Nio EP9 for a base price of 448,000 yuan (~Rs. 43.5 lakh), in comparison, a similarly spec’d Model X P100D costs ~Rs. 81.11 lakh in China.
However, the ES8 does not deserve to be dismissed as yet another Chinese vehicle that’s trying too hard to rival mainstream brands. First up, the ES8’s design has an individual personality to it, unlike most copycat vehicles originating from China. The profile of the crossover is well proportioned, and the smooth flanks accompanied by those flush door handles are pretty unique.
Insides of the ES8 are dominated by screens, something not uncommon on most contemporary EVs and hybrids. Furthermore, the cockpit design is fairly upscale, with a lot of premium elements thrown in. The aircon vents take some inspiration from modern Audis and premium VWs with their long, continuous design. Nio has also thrown in a leg rest for the front passenger seat - mimicking the first-class luxury experience that many luxury saloons/SUVs offer at the rear.
Mechanically, the Nio ES8 is no slouch either. Feeding electrical force to this family-oriented crossover are a pair of electric motors, which pump around 640bhp equivalent of power and about 840Nm of torque. As, you’d expect, a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.4 seconds sounds quite realistic with so much muscle available on-board.
The Chinese company claims that its upcoming crossover is capable of covering around 350km on a single charge, as per European test cycle. Furthermore, the ES8 comes with a noticeable advantage of having swappable batteries. Nio says a battery swap can be done in just three minutes, and it intends to build 1,100 stations for swapping in China by 2020.
Nio is a relatively young company (founded in 2014), and therefore, there are no plans for this formidable Model X rival to be launched outside of China as yet.