NextEV's NIO brand to launch first mass market car in 2017

The NIO Electric Sedan 8, or ES8, is currently for China only and will take design inspiration from EP9 electric hypercar

NIO brand logo

NextEV’s new global electric car brand NIO will launch its first mass market car in 2017 in China.

But it has so far refused to commit to selling in Europe, with NextEV chairman William Li explaining: “We have to establish our core competitiveness in China first.”

NIO’s first model will be the ES8 – short for Electric Sedan 8 – and is said to share some key design cues with the brand’s EP9 electric supercar.

David Hilton, senior design director, highlighted the areas of the car which would have obvious similarities to the EP9. He told Auto Express: “The frontal identity, the rear lighting – we call them the spark beats – and the chiselled side.”

Heavy use of alumiunium will mean a lightweight body, but the brand remained tight-lipped on potential performance.

Best electric cars

It is understood the ES8 is likely to be out on test in the first quarter of 2017, with sales due later in the year.

NextEV will work in partnership with Chinese firm JAC Motors to manufacture the car, with capacity for 100,000 models to be built annually.

The ES8 will be pitched at the premium end of the market. “We will have the same quality as BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus but at a more competitive price,” said Li.

He was evasive when pressed on whether the car would be engineered from the outset to enable being homologated in different global markets, but company president Lihong Qin did admit that “Europe is not the most mature EV market” – so it may be that UK customers face a lengthy wait before the brand arrives here.

Emgrand EV 2016 review

NIO claims its focus on the user experience will differentiate it from existing makers of EVs, with Hilton claiming that its cars will have a much simpler interface than what is currently on the market. “Information degradation is key,” he said. And rather than offering compatibility with smartphones, Hilton said NIO’s cars would become mobile devices on their own.

NextEV NIO EP9 electric hypercar - rear action

The brand would not elaborate on charging times for the ES8 either, although it seems plans are in place for charging stations across China to alleviate the problem of powering EVs in the country’s high-density mega-cities.

The new brand is also powering forward with its plans to deliver autonomous driving too. It is currently testing in the US, and chief development officer Padmasree Warrior claimed: “We want to be the first to bring level four autonomy [where vehicles are designed to perform all safety-critical functions] to the market.”

What do you think about NextEV's plans? Leave us a comment below...

Recommended

NIO ET5 saloon makes its debut in digital reveal
NIO ET5 - front
Nio

NIO ET5 saloon makes its debut in digital reveal

New mid-sized ET5 electric saloon from Chinese brand NIO will take on the Tesla Model 3
19 Dec 2021
NIO and Shell sign agreement for battery swap stations
NIO battery swap
Nio

NIO and Shell sign agreement for battery swap stations

Chinese EV brand and energy giant collaborate to bring battery charging and swapping stations to Europe from next year
26 Nov 2021
Car brands that you haven't heard of
Nio range
Features

Car brands that you haven't heard of

Making a new car company can be tricky - here are few alternative brands looking to catch your eye
27 Sep 2021
Nio announces new mass-market electric car brand to rival Toyota and VW
Nio EC6 - front
Nio

Nio announces new mass-market electric car brand to rival Toyota and VW

Nio will target the more affordable end of the electric car market with a new marque, though plans to come to Europe have not been revealed
17 Aug 2021

Most Popular

Next-generation Mercedes E-Class to stick with combustion engines
Mercedes E-Class render
Mercedes E-Class

Next-generation Mercedes E-Class to stick with combustion engines

Mercedes is planning on launching a new E-Class in 2023 and it'll come with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains
21 Jan 2022
New 2022 Land Rover Defender 130 revealed in patent images
Land Rover Defender 130
Land Rover Defender

New 2022 Land Rover Defender 130 revealed in patent images

Stretched Land Rover Defender 130 eight-seater leaked in patent images, showcasing design in full
21 Jan 2022
Best electric vans 2022
Best electric vans
Best cars & vans

Best electric vans 2022

We reveal the best electric vans for sale or lease in the UK right now
7 Jan 2022