NIO Launches Electric ES8 SUV in China Costing Less Than Tesla's Model X

Author: Eric Walz   

BEIJING — Chinese automaker NIO, formerly known as NextEV, celebrates the first "NIO Day" at Beijing Wukesong Arena with the official launch of the company's new battery-powered ES8 SUV.

The NIO ES8 is a 7-seater high-performance electric SUV which is priced less than Tesla's Model X. The ES8 has a base price of RMB 448,000 before subsidies, with 10,000 of the special Founder's Editions available for RMB 548,000. The Tesla Model X is priced at RMB 848,000.  

The ES8 is available with a unique battery rental plan called NIO Power, which provides a RMB 100,000 discount on the purchase price of the ES8. The optional NIO Power battery rental subscription is RMB 1,280 per month and enables ES8 owners to enjoy battery upgrading services, along with quality assurance, roadside assistance, car connectivity, and nationwide charging services. NIO Power also includes NIO Power Home, supercharger network, and Power Mobile.

Power Mobile is a new power service product developed by NIO, which enables the ES8 to run 100 kilometers after charging for ten minutes. By 2020, NIO plans to build over 1,100 Power Swap Stations and deploy over 1,200 Power Mobile vehicles. The ES8's battery can be swapped in just three minutes.

Powered by big data and cloud services, NIO's power cloud connects each of the super chargers, power swap stations, NIO Mobile vehicles, battery pack, ES8, NIO Specialist and NIO's user. The same mobile connectivity is also applied to vehicle services. NIO's services cloud also integrates each of the NIO House, repair center, delivery center, service car, ES8, NIO Specialist and NIO user to provide worry-free services.

NIO was founded by the Chairman of Bitauto and NextEV, William Li. After the company's launch, several companies invested in NIO, including Tencent, Temasek, Baidu, Sequoia and Lenovo. Its supercar — the NIO EP9, was debuted the same day the brand was established.

About the ES8

The ES8 SUV is equipped with both front and rear motors, which deliver 480 kilowatts of power and 840 Newton meters of torque to all four wheels. This E-powertrain enables the ES8 to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds. The SUV comes with active air suspension on all ES8's models, delivering a comfortable riding experience.

The ES8's 70-kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled battery pack comprised of cutting-edge VDA square cell batteries. According to NIO, these cells feature the highest energy density of their kind and provide a 2,000-charge lifecycle. The ES8's drag coefficient is as low as 0.29. The ES8 achieves over 500 kilometers of range when constantly run at 60 kph, and the car achieves an NEDC range of 355 kilometers.

The ES8 is the first car to have an all-aluminium body and chassis featuring aerospace grade 7003 series aluminium alloy for torsional strength. The ES8 features the highest amount of aluminium for any mass production car.

The ES8 has a  3,010 millimeter long wheelbase, the longest in its class, to create a truly mobile living space. The three-row, seven-seat layout makes full use of the interior space. The innovative "lounge seat" and "child-care mode" creates a cozy atmosphere, making users feel at home. The ES8 also includes a smart air quality system, equipped with an activated carbon and HEPA filter and negative ion generator.


The ES8 Interior

The ES8 Includes ‘NIO Pilot'

NIO has launched its comprehensive advanced driver assist system on the ES8 which is calls NIO PILOT. It includes a suite of 23 sensors, including a trifocal front-facing camera, four surround exterior cameras, five millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a driver monitor camera.

The ES8 is the world's first vehicle to come equipped with the Mobileye EyeQ4 system-on-chip (SoC), which has a computation capacity nine-times more powerful than its predecessors for level 4 autonomous driving. NIO PILOT's software and hardware suite enables subscribers to enjoy upgraded services with over-the-air updates.

NIO introduces NOMI, the world's first in-car AI system. Powered by both in-car and cloud computation, NOMI interacts with people sitting in the vehicle and its emotion engine gives users a friend on the road. NOMI combines the ES8's intelligence and car connectivity functionalities to turn the ES8 into an expressive and intuitive companion that can listen, talk, and offer assistance to drivers during a trip.

To show off the new battery powered SUV, NIO has opened NIO Houses in Beijing, with plans to open NIO Houses in nine more cities in 2018, including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Hefei, Suzhou and Wuhan.

"We hope that we can have more people interested in smart electric vehicles by presenting ultimate products and services, and then we can achieve our vision of bringing back blue skies." NIO Founder and Chairman, William Li, said at the inaugural NIO Day. "NIO wants people to enjoy owning a car again and aspires to redefine the experience of owning a car. The ES8 launch is another beginning for NIO."

NIO intends to lead the way with autonomous, electric-powered, and smart vehicles, and to make their owners feel positive about owning their products. They also want to redefine what premium service means for a car company.

In October 2016 NIO announced that it was issued an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit by the California DMV and it would begin testing on public roads under the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program.

The NIO ES8 is customizable and will be made to order. Those interested in purchasing an ES8 can place an order through the NIO's Android App. The ES8 will finish a 3,000,000 km road test before NIO begins delivering the vehicle to users.

Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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