Chinese automaker NIO has officially launched its first production car, the ES8, during a presentation at Beijing Wukesong Arena. With the vehicle’s launch, Nio seems poised as a true threat to Tesla in China, where the Silicon Valley automaker’s cars are not eligible for government subsidies and incentives because they’re imported.
The ES8, which will begin delivery in early next year, starts at 448,000 Chinese yuan ($68,000 USD), which is about half of what Tesla’s Model X retails for in China. Furthermore, the ES8 returns an estimated 220 miles of range with its dual-electric motors and battery pack. The three-row, seven-seat ES8 comes with both front and rear motors, making for 480 kilowatts of power and 840 Nm of torque to all four wheels, and enables the ES8 to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds.
The ES8’s innovative battery charging system ‘NIO Power’ allows the car’s battery to be swapped in three minutes. The company has plans for 1,100 swapping stations in China by 2020 to ease range anxiety. Nio will even offer a service in which a van will come out to charge the ES8 for 10 minutes to give it 62 miles of range.
The NIO is also equipped with the Mobileye EyeQ4, which has a computation capacity nine-times more powerful than its predecessors, as well as the world’s first in-car AI system called “NOMI”, will use cloud computing to interact with the driver and help with needs along the route. Also a intuitive companion that can listen, talk, and help drivers along the way.