China’s electric car start-up Nio has launched its first EV, the ES8. The electric SUV is offered with battery swap option and Nio also wants to run vans as mobile power banks when an EV ran out of juice.
After a first presentation this April, Nio has now officially launched its ES8 electric SUV and with it full specs. The ES8 range as specified by the NEDC is at 355 kilometres provided by the model’s 70 kW battery. It serves to power a 480 kW system that accelerates the seven-seater from 0 – 100 kph in 4.4 seconds and up to a top speed of 180 kph, according to Nio.
Pricing starts at 57,800 euros before incentives, or 44,900 euros without the battery which Nio offers for rent optionally. This business model has also led to the idea to offer battery swapping – a proposition that could be called bold although since the Better Place fiasco, it has become synonymous with failure rather.
Nio however imagines a network of battery exchange stations, so-called Swap Stations and wants to install 1,100 across China until 2020. Investors appear to believe in Nio’s vision as the latest round of financing resulted in an additional one billion dollars for the EV maker. And Nio has indeed presented the public with such a Swap Station at the launch last night (see video below, the 3-min battery swap starts at 5 min in).
More support for the many urban EV drivers without a garage to charge in, shall come from what the EV start-up calls Power-Mobile-Vehicles, vans that serve as power banks and race to the aid of drivers that run out of battery. A 1,200 strong fleet is planned and shall enable an ES8 to run 100 kilometres after charging for ten minutes.
Also in terms of sales Nio wants to go mobile only and says the ES8 will be made to order and can be customised through the NIO App. Still, the first “NIO Houses” have opened in Beijing, and the company plans to a set up stores in nine more cities in 2018, including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Hefei, Suzhou and Wuhan. An market entry in Europe will happen in 2020 at the earliest.