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NIO Unveils New Flagship Sedan With 150 kWh Solid-State Batteries & Closer To Fully Autonomous Driving Capability

Renowned Chinese brand NIO dropped some interesting announcements during their NIO Day event yesterday. The electric vehicle manufacturer unveiled a new flagship sedan, the ET7, which is set to lead NIO’s charge against Tesla Model S. They also announced a new solid-state battery, which will be released in late 2022. The NIO Day is an annual event held for all the owners and fans of the brand.

NIO Unveils New Flagship Sedan, Solid-State Batteries in NIO Day Event; Set To Rival Tesla Model S

The ET7 – Nio’s Answer To Model S

NIO has launched the ET7 as a highly advanced flagship sedan. It is based on the ET preview concept from 2019. The first impression is quite stunning, with a sleek exterior, rich interior and powerful specs.

There will be three battery pack options, two of which will be available at launch. These two options will have battery capacities of 70 kWh and 100 kWh. These two options will provide the vehicle with an NEDC range of more than 500 km (311 miles) and 700 km (435 miles) respectively. These are impressive figures. The third option will be a 150 kWh battery pack capable of running for more than 1000 km (620 miles). That is quite a mind-boggling number.

The NIO ET7
The NIO ET7

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The powertrain consists of a dual-motor all-wheel-drive with a peak output of 480 kW power and 850 Nm torque. In order to improve efficiency, NIO has opted for a permanent magnet motor on the front axle (180 kW) and an induction motor on the rear (300 kW). They have also used SiC power electronics. This powertrain is capable of accelerating the car from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 3.9 seconds.

Interior and Exterior Features of the ET7

The ET7 is expected to provide a new level of cabin comfort, which will help in long-distance travel. Other ‘creature comfort’ features include smart air suspension and heating, ventilation and massage on all seats. A glass roof on top, an advanced dashboard with HUD, 12.8″ centre display and 23 speakers are all part of the standard package. NIO has also highlighted smart air vents on both front and rear row. They also offer a UWB digital key (reportedly the world’s first), frameless windows and soft-close doors.

Nio ET7 Interior
Nio ET7 Interior

Autonomous driving technology is fast becoming a must-have feature in electric vehicles, and NIO does not disappoint. Their system consists of 11 cameras, LiDAR sensors, and NIO Aquila Super Sensing combined with NIO Adam Super Computer.

The ET7 features NIO’s latest NAD (NIO Autonomous Driving) technology based on NIO Aquila Super Sensing and NIO Adam Super Computer. NAD brings safer and more relaxing autonomous driving from point A to point B, gradually covering cases such as on expressways, urban, parking, and battery swapping.

 

“NIO has built up the NAD full stack autonomous driving capability including perception algorithms, localization, control strategy and platform software. NIO Aquila Super Sensing features 33 high-performance sensing units, including 11 8MP high-resolution cameras, 1 ultralong-range high-resolution LiDAR, 5 millimeter wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, 2 high-precision positioning units, V2X and ADMS. Aquila can generate 8GB data per second. NIO Adam features 4 Nvidia Orin SoCs with a total computing power of 1,016 TOPS.”

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Customers can buy this autonomous driving hardware package for a monthly subscription of around $105.

NIO ET7 Side view

Variants and Pricing

There will be three main variants for the ET7 – one for the 70 kWh battery pack, and two for the 100 kWh option. Pre-orders are open, but the earliest deliveries will happen only in Q1 of 2022. They are as follows:

  • 70 kWh battery pack – 448,000 yuan ($69,185)
  • 100 kWh – 506,000 yuan ($78,142)
  • Premier edition (100 kWh) – 526,000 yuan ($81,230)

New NIO Batteries Coming in Late 2022

Apart from unveiling the ET7, NIO also announced a new battery pack that will soon become a standard in most of their vehicles. The battery pack will have a capacity of 150 kWh and consist of ultra-high-density solid-state cells. This battery pack will be included in the ET7 from Q4 of 2022, which will provide a range of more than 1000 km (620 miles).

NIO had started with a 70 kWh battery in 2018, moving onto an 84 kWh pack in 2019, before coming up with the 100 kWh version in late 2020. The best part though is that these old batteries are replaceable, so even existing users can get their packs upgraded once the 150 kWh version is launched.

The existing NIO models will also get updated range specs:

  • ES8 (flagship SUV) – 850 km (528 miles) from 580 km (360 miles) NEDC
  • ES6 (mid-size SUV) – 900 km (559 miles) from 610 km (380 miles) NEDC
  • EC6 (mid-size crossover) – 910 km (566 miles) from 615 km (382 miles) NEDC

These are amazingly improved numbers, and it remains to be seen whether NIO actually delivers this.

This new battery will have an energy density of 360 Wh/kg, which is double of what is available in the 84 kWh pack. It promises better battery life and higher charging efficiency.

Our Opinion

NIO has been constantly improving in the past few years. Their vehicle line-up already consists of two SUVs and a crossover. The addition of the ET7 will definitely help them in challenging Tesla in China, one of the biggest EV markets. The new battery pack is sure to excite customers, but it is still two years away.

2020 was a very good year for NIO, and they will be hoping the ET7 helps keep the graph in the upward direction.

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Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.

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