New NIO ES6 announced

Chinese start-up NIO has added a smaller SUV to its line-up, tasked with rivalling the upcoming BMW iX3

NIO, the Chinese Formula E team and electric car startup, has unveiled its latest compact, five-seat, all-electric SUV. Called the ES6, it’s on sale now in the Chinese market, with prices starting at 358,000 Yuan for the standard model, increasing to 398,000 Yuan for the performance variant (around £41,000 and £45,500 respectively).

The ES6 joins the company’s seven-seat ES8 SUV, and is powered by a combination of a permanent magnet motor and an induction motor. The former drives the front wheels in low-speed applications while the latter powers the rear, only engaging when additional performance is required.

• NIO ES8 review

In total, the system produces 536bhp and 725Nm of torque, which means the ES6 can cover the 0-62mph sprint in a claimed 4.7 seconds, and reach a maximum speed of 124mph. NIO also claim the ES6 has a range of around 310 miles, thanks to an 84kWh battery pack and a body constructed exclusively from aluminium and carbon fibre.

Its chassis features active suspension, adaptive all-wheel-drive, Brembo brakes with an electronically-assisted servo and Pirelli P-Zero tyres. Adaptive air suspension will also be available to buyers as an optional extra. Drivers will also be able to select from a range of driving modes via the ES6’s infotainment system.

The ES6 is packed with driver convenience technology, such as autonomous emergency braking, radar-guided cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane departure warning, blind spot detection and parking sensors.

NIO plan to release a series of over-the-air technology updates to the ES6 throughout its life-span, including road sign recognition, cyclist detection and nearby summoning; a system which automatically delivers the car to the driver across short distances, through use of a smartphone app and autonomous driving. As in the ES8, the hardware is in place for these systems, but the software still requires development.

Inside, the ES6 features a digital instrument cluster, an 11.3-inch infotainment system, sports steering wheel and NIO’s in-car artificial intelligence system, NOMI, which controls a range of the car’s functions such as the radio, doors, sat-nav and windscreen wipers. However, as we found in the ES8, the system only understands Chinese for the time being and requires adaptation for the European market.

Now read our list of the best electric cars on sale here...

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