The impact that Tesla has had on the world of electric vehicles (EVs) is profound. From their first-generation Tesla Roadster to their latest offering – the Model 3, Tesla has been pushing the margin from its inception.
EVs have become more prominent over the last few years and Tesla's success has been a shining beacon, which has given the EV sector a sense of security. There have been other positive examples in recent years as well.
For instance, in 2014 FIA's Formula E, a high-level all-electric car racing series, was introduced and is continuing to generate buzz.
On the manufacturing side of things, Toyota and Mazda have announced a partnership to develop EVs together. Volvo has even gone as far as announcing that all of their cars will either be fully electric or hybrid gas-electric from 2019.
As you can see, things are happening. Tesla even released an SUV, the Model X, in 2015, which drew a lot of attention in 2017 by beating a Lamborghini Aventador in a drag race, and setting a record for the fastest SUV in a quarter-mile drag race.
With all that has happened in the EV sector over the past few years, it's clear that Tesla is making strides. However, they aren't the only player in the market. Recently a Chinese company by the name of NIO announced their all electric ES8 SUV. What immediately grabs one's attention with the ES8 is that it costs less than Tesla's Model X.
What is the NIO ES8?
What you should know about the NIO:
- NIO touts themselves as the next-generation car company and their aim is to make consumers feel positive about owning a car again. They also believe that a great user experience is of the utmost importance.
- NIO has offices in the US, Europe, and China.
- Nelson Piquet Jr., a driver on their Formula E team at the time, won the Formula E World Championship in its first edition.
- Although they are a relatively new company, founded in 2014, they definitely have some 'chops'. Their EP9 street car set a lap record of 6m 45.900s for electric vehicles at the Nürburgring Nordschleife*. This clearly shows their racing pedigree.
[*The Nürburgring Nordschleife is a popular racing track in Germany commonly used as a proving ground by car manufacturers for their sports cars.]
The ES8 is NIO's take on the electric SUV. While it is a 7-Seater SUV, it is by no means lacking in terms of speed. The ES8 can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4.4 seconds. The price of the ES8 is also a remarkable RMB 448,000 (about $67,788).
Design and Tech Specs
The ES8 has a spacious interior which is set up in a 3-row, 7-seat format. The seats are wrapped in Nappa leather and feature both 'Child-Care' and 'Lounge-seat' modes that are designed with the comfort of the vehicle occupants in mind.
The seats are wrapped in Nappa leather and feature both 'Child-Care' and 'Lounge-seat' modes.
On the inside, expect superior air quality since the vehicle is equipped with an activated carbon and HEPA filter.
The ES8 is equipped with a 70 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery, which gives a range of 335km. NIO offers a battery rental program which knocks RMB 1,00,000 ($15,130) off the original price tag, providing the users with free battery upgrade service, quality assurance, roadside assistance, and access to a China-wide charging service.
In addition, a battery swap solution is available, which, according to NIO, lets customers switch to a charged battery in 3 minutes. NIO's NOMI Pilot advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) is made up of 23 different sensors and allows for autonomous driving features, which include Highway Pilot, Traffic Jam Pilot, and automatic emergency braking.
Check out The Wheel Network's Video on how the battery swapping process for the ES8 works.
NIO also plans to have 1,200 NIO Power Mobile vehicles deployed that will be capable of providing 100 additional kilometers of range after just 10 minutes.
How NIO's ES8 Stacks up Against Tesla's Model X
The ES8 is sounding quite impressive so far but how does it stack up against Tesla's Model X (P100D)?
Well, the ES8 is priced at $67,788, which is less than half the price of the Model X (P100D) priced at $165,000.
Additionally, the 335km range of the ES8 is less than that of the Model X's 542 km range. NIO's ES8 can be charged via the NIO Super Charger network using a mobile power vehicle, via standard charging options, or the battery can be swapped.
Tesla's Model X can be charged using Tesla's Supercharger network or through standard charging options. Tesla seems to have discontinued battery swapping in favor of their Supercharger network.
The real standout point here is that NIO offers charging via mobile power vehicles, which could turn out to be quite the convenience.
Both the ES8 and Model X offer autonomous driving solutions. It is difficult to compare the autonomous capabilities of the two vehicles at this point since there isn't as much information on the ES8 to go on.
Although the range of the ES8 is lower than that of all available models of the Model X (the lowest end P70D Model X has an NEDC range of 417km), 335km is quite competitive.
In addition, NIO's mobile power vehicles for charging idea is quite intriguing. Depending on the locations of these in relation to the location of a driver, this could turn out to be a more convenient option. However, this might just be a method to compensate for a still growing Super Charger network.
While the Model X edges out the ES8, based on the ES8's price, this is fair game. Right now it's only available in China and will probably fare better there than the Model X due to the lower price and almost comparable performance.