Published on December 16th, 2018 |
by Sebastian Blanco
December 16th, 2018 by Sebastian Blanco
At a massive event with around 10,000 electric vehicle fans and headlined by pop singer Bruno Mars, NIO unveiled its new, all-electric, premium SUV in Shanghai, China, tonight. CleanTechnica was there to enjoy the show and cover the details. Well, I was there. The rest of the CleanTechnica team was somewhere else.
The ES6 is the company’s second production electric vehicle, following the larger ES8 SUV, and it packs a higher-capacity battery pack for more range and a host of other improvements. Due to NIO’s battery swap technology, current ES8 owners will be upgrading their 70-kWh packs to the new 84-kWh pack next year. This announcement caused louder applause than any of Mars’ songs.
The unveiling and concert were the capstones to the 2018 NIO Day, the startup automaker’s annual party it throws for its fans and owners. NIO has been selling its only model, the ES8, since June and has delivered just over 9,700 of them so far in China. NIO founder and CEO William Li announced during the event that 1,098 ES8s gathered together in one place for NIO Day, which he claimed made the event the largest-ever gathering of one model vehicle. The crowd loved this news as well.
With apologies to Mars, the prototype ES6 was the star of the show tonight. The ES6 displays a striking resemblance to the ES8, but with enough minor differences to make it look a little sharper. NIO actually brought six ES6s to the event, one in most of the available colors: Sky Blue, Cloud White, Stratosphere Blue, Mars Red, Misty Green, Star Gray, and Deep Black. A new color for 2019, Nebula Violet, was also announced.
The ES6 is now available to order for Chinese buyers and will start deliveries in June. It will be available in two versions, the base and Premier Edition trims.
The base model uses two 160-kW motors, one on each axle, to achieve a 0–100 km/h (62 mph) time of 5.6 seconds.
The Premier Edition ups the power output on the rear axle to 240 kW and drops the 0–62 time to 4.7 seconds.
All told, there will be four basic versions — the two trims and then a choice of the 70- or 84-kWh battery size for each — with prices that range from 358,000 to 448,000 RMB ($51,800 to $64,800) before government subsidies.
Around 95% of ES8 owners lease their batteries, which drops the upfront price of their vehicles by 100,000 RMB ($14,476). This option will be available for ES6 buyers as well. NIO ES8 battery lessees pay around 1,200 RMB ($123) per month, which also offers them access to the battery swap stations. ES6 battery lessees will pay 1,660 RMB a month ($240), Li said.
NIO only gave estimated range numbers for the new ES6 using the NEDC scale, but they range from 410 km (254 miles) for the base trim with the 70-kWh pack to 510 km (316 miles) for the Premier Edition with the 84-kWh pack.
NIO has a range of solutions to make range anxiety a non-issue, including the aforementioned battery swap stations (there are 18 installed so far, with plans for many more in the future) and the NIO Power van, which is a service vehicle with two 70-kWh battery packs in the rear that can come to where you are and recharge your car for you, either in an emergency or as a courtesy. This service is powered by the popular NIO app (there are almost 200,000 people using it every day) and its “One Click For Power” option, which Li said had been used over 28,000 times so far.
The ES6 has a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and a 100–0 km stopping distance of just 33.9 meters (111 feet). It offers three drive modes: sport, comfort, and custom, along with available air suspension.
The company’s ADAS driver assistance and NIO Pilot self-driving tech is pre-loaded into the car and can be turned on via over-the-air updates once the company feels it’s ready. Even though a self-driving ES6 came on stage during the event, NIO Pilot is not due to be sent to customer cars until next year.
The ES6 offers the same quirky robot AI assistant as the ES8, a round screen called Nomi that sits on the dash and responds to voice commands to do things like play music, answer questions, and take selfies of the people in the car.
The ES6 also introduces an “intelligent fragrance system,” and Nomi can release a refreshing scent when it senses that you’re tired. The four fragrance names are called Solar, Stellar, Wild, and Haven.
Official release: NIO Officially Launches NIO ES6 at NIO Day 2018
Related Stories: Nio Builds Battery Swap Stations In China For Its Electric Vehicles
Images by Sebastian Blanco