Chinese electric car maker NIO has just launched its ES8 SUV with prices starting at RMB 4,48,000 (Rs 43.44 lakh). The company is also offering 10,000 units of the Founder's editions of the car that demand some extra cash and can be owned at RMB 5,48,000 (Rs 53.14 lakh). NIO is also offering a battery rental plan to the buyers of the ES8 SUV. Under the plan, the owner gets a flat discount of RMB 1,00,000 (Rs 9.69 lakh). The NIO ES8 sources its power from twin motors that have been installed at both the axles. The electric motors develop a maximum power output of 644 hp along with a peak torque of 840 Nm. All thanks to these figures, the NIO ES8 sprints from 0 to 100 kmph in a matter of 4.4 seconds. The car comes fitted with 70-kilowatt-hour, liquid-cooled battery pack that comprises of VDA square cell batteries. The cells offer the highest energy density in the class and come with 2,000 charge lifecycle. The NIO ES8 electric SUV has been designed keeping safety as one of the top priorities in mind. The car gets an all aluminium body and chassis. The frame of the car features aerospace grade 7003 series aluminium alloy that offers a torsional stiffness of 44,140 Nm/deg. Due to these reasons, the NIO ES8 has the maximum amount of aluminium found on any mass production car in the world.
The seven-seater SUV comes with three seating row layout and has an ample of space in the cabin. The lounge seat along with the Nappa leather wrap offers an upmarket and premium appeal to the interiors. The NIO ES8 is backed by the company's driver assistance system that has been named NIO Pilot and it features 23 sensors. The system consists of a trifocal front camera, 12 ultrasonic sensors, a driver monitor camera and five-millimeter wave radars.
The NIO ES8 also offers a new charging experience christened NIO Power that allows swapping of battery in just three minutes. The NIO Power comes with three main elements viz supercharger network, power mobile and NIO Power Home. Power Mobile is a completely in-house built product by NIO that helps the vehicle run 100 kilometres in just 10 minutes of charging.
The NIO ES8 is seen as a tough rival to the Tesla Model X. The most interesting part is that the NIO ES8 costs significantly lesser in comparison to the much-hyped Tesla and in some aspects, offer even more than the latter. The Tesla Model X, on the other hand, starts at a price of USD 73,800 (Rs 47.25 lakh) but it has its own USPs and highlights. The first Tesla unit has been spotted running recently on Mumbai roads. Though there is no word yet on the official launch, Tesla has announced that it will mark its footprints to India soon.
The government of India is taking electric mobility seriously and aims to make the country running completely on eco-friendly vehicles by the year 2032. At present, not even 1 percent of the total number of vehicles running on roads are electric ones and hence, making a pure EV shift in the next 15 years requires some dedicated planning. Though manufacturers have started entering into the electric vehicle space when compared to the conventional fossil fuel burning vehicles, the challenges are still high. For instance, the electric vehicles currently available for sale in India offer a maximum range of 100 to 150 km per full charge while the ones like Tesla in global markets offer a range of around 500 km. For this reason, while India currently sits far below in the electric mobility ladder, the 2032 shift is seen as a major opportunity to leap into the EV era.