The NIO ES8 is an electric SUV that's much cheaper than a Tesla Model X
With a foot firmly in Formula E, NextEV has further built on its road car brand NIO by revealing an all-electric SUV called the ES8. Following the Nürburgring-conquering EP9 supercar, the Chinese firm has taken the wraps off its new model to customers in Beijing.
The major headline is it'll cost just 448,000 Yuan (£50,500) after government EV incentives, making it just over half the price of the current EV SUV market leader, the Tesla Model X.
Is it just me or is the design unbelievably generic and bland?
It shares many aspects with the Tesla - it has seven seats, an all-aluminium body and chassis, air suspension and all-wheel drive; not bad for a company that sprouted from underneath NextEV in 2014. On the other hand, I will admit that I don't agree with its styling considering that it lacks any form of aesthetic character. Have you ever seen a more generic looking vehicle?
Anyway, time for the techy bits. Although no claims of charging times have been quoted, NIO has declared that the ES8 will have a range of 220-311 miles (depending on which spec you go for) using a 70kWh battery pack for the lower range models. Electric motors on each axle will spur the SUV onto 62mph in 4.4 seconds, pitting it against the lower end of Tesla's range in terms of performance.
NIO ES8 owners can have the battery changed at a power-swap station in just three minutes, or charge the batteries via a mobile charging service vehicle. As with most premium EVs these days, it has levels of autonomy that will allow it to navigate main city streets and highways without a single input from the driver.
It will be joined in the market next year by Jaguar's I-Pace which will be the start of Europe's EV SUV production effort once final real world testing has concluded. There's been no official word of when the NIO SUV will be launched in the US or Europe, but if it gets off the ground in Asia, it probably won't be long until we see them silently floating down our city streets.
What are your thoughts on this new Model X rival? Can it be a genuine contender and a quality product at that almost unbelievable price point? Comment with your thoughts below!