China-based electric vehicle startup NIO unveiled the NIO ES8, an electric SUV planned for serial production for the China market later this year. The company also announced it will begin taking pre-orders of its flagship supercar, the NIO EP9 (earlier post).
The NIO ES8 is a full-size 7-seat electric SUV with a 2-3-2 seating arrangement. The ES8 has an all-aluminum body and chassis, front and rear motors with electric all-wheel drive, and active air suspension. The ES8 features the “design identity” of every NIO vehicle: the X-bar and signature “Spark Beat” tail lights. NIO intends to equip the ES8 with a swappable battery pack. The manufacturing and supply chain that will produce the ES8 is already in place, the company said.
The vehicle has been tested in Yakeshi in Inner Mongolia, where temperatures can reach -22 degrees Fahrenheit as well as Melbourne and Mildura, Australia where temperatures can reach more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ES8’s official launch will take place at the end of this year, with deliveries expected to begin next year.
NIO also announced it will begin pre-selling its flagship supercar, the NIO EP9. The first batch of six EP9s produced were for investors. NIO plans to produce a second batch of ten EP9s, and each one will be made to order. The NIO EP9 is priced at US$1.48 million.
NIO is a global start-up; NIO has more than 2,000 employees in San Jose, Shanghai, Munich, London and eight other locations. In October 2016, NIO USA announced that it was issued an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit by the California DMV and it would begin testing on public roads under the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program guidelines as it progresses on its path to bring autonomy to market. Investors include Tencent, Temasek, Baidu Capital, Sequoia Capital, Lenovo, TPG and other institutions.