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Chinese EV Manufacturer Nio Reveals the Nio ET5 as It Ramps up Global Expansion Plans

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The new ET5 from Chinese electric car maker Nio is a sleek, compact sedan aimed squarely at the Tesla Model 3.

Unveiled at the annual Nio Day, the ET5 is the brand’s fifth production model, following the EC5, ES6 and ES8 SUVs and the upcoming ET7 luxury sedan.

Its price in China is the equivalent of £38,935 (including battery), slightly less than the Tesla Model 3 Performance with two motors. Deliveries in China are scheduled to begin in September 2022, with European examples due in spring 2023.

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Unlike Tesla, the ET5 – which is based on the same 2.0 technology platform as the ET7 – is available exclusively with a two-motor powertrain consisting of a 201 hp asynchronous motor on the front axle and a 282 hp motor on the rear axle, offering a total output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft. The 0-62 km/h sprint is achieved in 4.3 seconds, but Nio has not yet given details of the top speed.

Three battery sizes are available: a 75-kWh standard-range unit with a range of more than 342 miles, the 100-kWh long-range unit that gives a range of more than 435 miles, and the 150-kWh ultra-long-range battery that promises a range of more than 620 miles – a figure that could make the ET5 one of the longest-range mainstream electric cars on the world market.

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However, according to the Chinese CLTC test cycle, these figures are homologated and are unlikely to be replicated in the WLTP test.

The kinship with the ET7 is clear from the sleek, liftback silhouette of the 4700mm-long ET5. Nio claims the rear wings are inspired by its EP9 supercar, while a wider track “and sharp, sculpted shapes” hint at the car’s “sporting intent”.

In addition, features such as the subtle ducktail spoiler, flush door handles, frameless windows and prominent front air intakes aim to improve aerodynamic efficiency – which will be key to the ET5 achieving its impressive range claims.

The minimalist interior is modelled on the ET7, adopting its largely featureless dashboard, vertically oriented infotainment touchscreen, digital instrument cluster and panoramic roof. Highlights include a sustainable “Clean+” upholstery material designed to improve interior acoustics, “invisible” air vents, a 256-colour ambient lighting system and a standard Dolby Atmos sound system.

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Nio also claims that the ET5 will offer an “industry-first” in interior entertainment. The manufacturer has worked with technology company NREAL to develop custom augmented reality glasses that can project a 201-inch virtual screen six metres in front of the wearer.

  • Chinese EV Manufacturer Nio Reveals The Nio ET5 As It Ramps Up Global Expansion Plans

The ET5 will be equipped with autonomous driving features from launch, “gradually achieving a safe and reassuring autonomous driving experience for scenarios such as motorways, urban areas, parking and battery swapping”. The features will be passed on to owners after launch for the equivalent of a monthly subscription of £81.

Battery swapping is a key feature of Nio’s business model, and customers whom opt-in can reduce the price of their ET5 by the equivalent of around £8000. The battery swap can be carried out in a dedicated facility in just three minutes, so a full charge is achieved much faster than with the fastest chargers on the market.

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Nio expects to have more than 1300 battery swap stations operating across China by the end of 2022. Recently, Nio has also signed an agreement with Shell’s energy company to expand the battery swap infrastructure to Europe and develop markets outside China.

Nio is already on the market in Norway and plans to sell cars in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark from 2022. At the launch of the ET5, company CEO William Li announced that Nio will be present in more than 25 countries by 2025.

However, plans for a UK launch remain unconfirmed. The brand has previously named the UK a region of interest, unveiling the EP9 supercar in London and setting up a simulation centre in Oxford. But it has already said it will only come here if market conditions are right.

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