NIO outs the EC7 SUV with best aerodynamics and fully autonomous highway battery swaps
The annual NIO Day bash held on Christmas Eve returned one new model - the EC7 SUV with the lowest drag coefficient - and a refresh of its full-size ES8 SUV built on NIO's new NT 2.0 platform. NIO brags that the EC7, which sports an electric rear wing, returns just 0.23 Cd wind resistance, which it says makes it the маss-production SUV with the best aerodynamics. Not only that, but the EC7 is equipped with a smart dimming panoramic roof for the first time in a NIO electric vehicle.
It is also NIO's fastest SUV, going from 0-62 mph in just 3.8 seconds, thanks to the dual-motor 480kW configuration. The price starts from the equivalent of about US$69,830 for the base version with a 75 kWh battery, and first deliveries will go out in May 2023.
The big ES8 SUV refresh starts with a 75 kWh battery pack at US$75,539, and will be shipping to customers in June 2023. It is quite a bit larger, with 5,099 mm x 1,989 mm x 1,750 mm dimensions, and a wheelbase of 3,070 mm. The dual-motor 480 kW drivetrain speeds this one up to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds. The luxurious ES8 interior sports five-zone A/C, NIO's PanoCinema panoramic digital cockpit, as well as 7.1 surround sound as standard equipment.
Both 2023 SUVs carries all the bells and whistles of the latest NIO NT 2.0 platform, including LiDAR and Nvidia Orin hardware, while a self-driving software suite subscription will be introduced for them at a later date.
Besides new EV models, NIO had a lot to show in the world of fast charging them last night, as it demonstrated a 500 kW charging system, one of China's fastest, that can bring its cars' batteries from 10%-80% in just 12 minutes. Besides ultrafast charging, NIO is working on enhancements of its battery swap stations, too. The new generation can now carry 21 packs and allow for up to 408 battery swaps per day.
Perhaps the most interesting development during NIO Day 2022, however, was the fully autonomous battery swap along a highway that the automaker demonstrated. Its EV can plan the route and drive itself to the swap station, change the battery pack without any interference from the driver, and then pull away to merge into highway traffic again. NIO is building battery swap stations in Europe, and counts on its export strategy for breaking even in 2024 as promised.