Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio has launched the NIO ES8, a seven-seater electric SUV, at about half the price of Tesla’s Model X. The ES8 is Nio’s first mass-produced model for the China market.
Founded in 2014, Nio unveiled the ES8 in Beijing on Saturday at a base price of 448,000 yuan, or $68,947, before subsidies. This is only about half the price for Tesla’s Model X, which starts at 836,000 yuan, or $128,660, after import duties in China.
Nio also said that a battery rental plan is available to ES8 customers, with a rental subscription of 1,280 yuan per month. The ES8 is customized and will be made to order. Customers interested in purchasing the ES8 can place an order through the Nio App.
The ES8 has an all-aluminum body and chassis, front and rear motors with electric all-wheel drive, and active air suspension. The vehicle, which has a range of 500 kilometers on a single charge, will be able to accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.4 seconds.
The SUV comes with Nio Pilot, a driver-assistance system. It also has an in-car artificial intelligence or AI system called NOMI that can help regulate the temperature and play music based on voice requests.
Nio also unveiled Nio Power, which will allow the ES8’s battery to be swapped in three minutes. By 2020, Nio plans to build over 1,100 “Power Swap” charging stations and deploy over 1,200 “Power Mobile” vehicles.
Nio and other Chinese auto start-ups such as Xpeng and Byton intend to rival Tesla with smart electric vehicles. Nio’s investors include Tencent Holdings, Temasek, Baidu Capital and Lenovo.
These companies have been supported by the Chinese government, which has given electric vehicle manufacturing licenses to promote non-emission vehicles as part of its efforts to cut dependence on oil imports and cut pollution.
China is now the world’s biggest electric vehicle market, surpassing the United States.
by RTT Staff Writer
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