New Nio ET5 is Tesla Model 3 rival with up to 620 miles of range
20 December 2021 - Autocar
Chinese EV brand reveals new compact saloon as it ramps up global expansion plans
Chinese EV manufacturer Nio's new ET5 is a rakish compact saloon aimed squarely at the Tesla Model 3.
Unveiled at the firm's annual Nio Day showcase, the ET5 is the brand's fifth production model, joining the EC5, ES6 and ES8 SUVs and the upcoming ET7 luxury saloon.
It is priced from the equivalent of £38,935 in China (including battery), slightly less than the dual-motor Tesla Model 3 Performance. Deliveries in China are set to get underway in September 2022, with European examples arriving in spring 2023.
Unlike the Tesla, the ET5 – based on the same Technology Platform 2.0 as the ET7 – is available exclusively with a twin-motor powertrain, which comprises a 201bhp asynchronous motor on the front axle and a 282bhp motor at the rear for total combined outputs of 483bhp and 516lb ft. The 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 4.3 seconds, but Nio has yet to give a top speed figure.
Three battery sizes are available: a 75kWh Standard Range unit with a claimed range of more than 342 miles, the 100kWh Long Range unit which bumps the range past 435 miles and the range-topping, 150kWh Ultralong Range battery which claims a range of more than 620 miles – a figure which could make the ET5 one of the longest-range mainstream EVs on sale globally.
However, these figures are homologated according to China's CLTC test cycle, and will likely not be emulated in WLTP testing.
The relationship with the ET7 is clear in the 4700mm-long ET5's rakish, liftback-style silhouette. Nio claims the rear haunches are inspired by its EP9 supercar, while a wider track "and sharp chiselled forms" hint at the car's "sporting intent".
Additionally, features such as the subtle ducktail spoiler, flush doorhandles, frameless windows and prominent front air intakes aim to boost aerodynamic efficiency – which will be key to the ET5 achieving its impressive claimed range figures.
The minimalist cabin is similarly modelled on the ET7, sharing that car's largely featureless dashboard, vertically oriented infotainment touchscreen, digital gauge cluster and panoramic roof. Highlights include a sustainable 'Clean+' upholstery material which is claimed to improve the interior's acoustics, 'invisible' air vents, a 256-colour ambient lighting system and a standard-fit Dolby Atmos sound system.
Nio also claims the ET5's will feature "an industry first" when it comes to in-car entertainment. The manufacturer has worked with tech company NREAL to develop bespoke augmented reality glasses which can project a virtual 201in screen six metres in front of the wearer.
By the end of 2022, Nio anticipates that it will have more than 1300 battery swap stations in operation across China. It also recently signed an agreement with energy firm Shell to expand its battery swapping infrastructure into Europe as it begins to target markets outside China.
Nio has already launched in Norway, and plans to begin selling cars in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark in 2022. At the unveiling of the ET5, boss William Li announced that Nio will have a presence in more than 25 countries by 2025.
Plans for a UK launch remain unconfirmed, though. The brand has previously cited the UK as a region of interest, having revealed the EP9 supercar in London and established a simulation centre in Oxford, but has previously said it will only come here when the market conditions are right.