NIO takes wraps off electric executive flagship ET9

The day before Christmas, at Nio Day 2023, the Chinese premium EV maker took off the wraps of its new ‘executive flagship sedan’, the ET9, which has to play in the highest luxury car segment like the Mercedes-Maybach or EQS, or the BMW i7. It is something no Chinese brand has successfully done in their home market so far.

The 5,3-meter-long sedan is packed with NIO’s latest technology and features 925 Volt architecture and two electric motors delivering a combined output of 520 kW (697 hp). But the emphasis is on luxury, like a suspension that allows four stacks of champagne glasses to remain steady on the hood while driving over speed bumps if that matters for you.

Starting at 101 000 euros in China

Not all technical specs have been released yet, but the price we know already as pre-ordering can start immediately: 800 000 yuan or some €101 000. To compare: in China, a Mercedes EQS you can get for a price between 845 000 and 1 134 000 yuan, or between €107 250 and €143 932. In Belgium, the ‘basic’ version of an EQS starts at €117 854.

The NIO ET9 gets a 120 kWh battery pack with in-house developed 46105 cylindrical battery cells with a higher energy density of 292 Wh/kg. Figures of the expected range have not been given yet, but as with all NIOs, the battery pack will be swappable. And NIO’s CEO showed the potential of the 150 kWh battery co-developed with WeLion, driving 1 044 km on one charge in an NIO ET7 a few weeks before.

640 kWh supercharger

Although he remains a vivid advocate for battery swapping as the fastest way to get moving again, CEO William Li also presented the latest supercharger as an alternative. The new 640 kWh would allow the ET9 to get an extra 255 kilometers on a five-minute charge.

The ET9 is a luxury sedan, 20 centimeters longer even than the already spacy ET7 that is currently the flagship with an extended wheelbase of 3 210 mm. That allows for executive-lounge-style individual seats in the back, with the possibility to take a nap by lowering it into a sleeping position like in a first-class long-haul airplane.

The car measures 5 324 mm in length, 2 016 mm in width, and 1 620 mm in height, and sits relatively high on 23-inch multi-spoke wheels with the NIO-logo floating in the middle and staying upright all the time.

One of the leading luxury features is the Sky Ride suspension, NIO’s drive-by-wire chassis, developed by US advanced suspension start-up ClearMotion, which NIO backs up financially. It can compensate for bumps in the road by adjusting the dampers up to 5 cm in just one second.

A video showing a pile of filled champaign glasses, four high, on the hood of a test car driving over several speed bumps without spilling a drop has to demonstrate the capabilities of this technology.

According to Chinese media, the car also features steer-by-wire (SBW), first developed by German tech company ZF, which signed a strategic tech agreement in October 2022. The steering includes rear-wheel steering up to an angle of 8.3 degrees.

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