Nio's ET9 Is a Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV Rival, Has a "Magic Carpet"-Like Suspension

Nio ET9 10 photos
Photo: Nio | Edited
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US innovation meets Chinese auto manufacturing prowess. Looking almost like a futuristic transportation pod, the ET9 is Nio's latest flagship. It glides over bumps so nicely that it reminds us of Bose's revolutionary electromagnetic suspension from 2004. Here's what you need to know.
Almost twenty years ago, most gearheads and somewhat well-off car buyers dreamed of having a Bose audio system on their next vehicle. But the company had more projects in store. It developed a suspension system that made any Rolls-Royce look like a Hyundai Sonata. It was incredibly impressive.

It took the company around six years to develop a working prototype. Even though it was an amazing thing to behold, the cost of putting it on a vehicle was too high, even for brands like Bentley. It was also too heavy. All that Bose did with it was to scale it down and make it viable for truck driver seats.

Fast forward 13 years, and ClearMotion buys "project sound" off Bose. Now, here we are: that suspension has been reworked and is finally debuting on a production-ready vehicle. Last year, Nio's investment arm invested $32 million to help ClearMotion accelerate the development. Chinese money and American minds make for one amazing combination when put to good work!

Unmistakably Nio, the ET9 aims to prove to everyone that a Chinese automaker can reach the peak of vehicle manufacturing. It's more of an international statement than a luxury machine.

The ET9 measures 209.6 inches in length, 79.3 in width, 64.7 inches in height, and has a wheelbase of 127.9 inches. It's a four-door, four-seater, coupe-shaped SUV. I don't think BMW anticipated that the X6 would become such a trendsetter.

Nio ET9
Photo: Nio
The EV has large windowed surfaces, seven sunshades, wide rear seats with plenty of adjustment, 360-degree tray tables, two touchscreens with minimal bezels, a panoramic glass roof split in the middle, and a ton of useful technology. For example, the drive-by-wire intelligent chassis. It makes use of minimal wiring because it replaces most of the thick low-voltage auxiliaries cables with simpler, cheaper, and better Ethernet-powered connections.

Since it's a luxury vehicle, the ET9 must keep its owner on the go with minimal effort. That's why its 120-kWh battery boasts the 925V architecture. It enables a maximum charging power of 600 kW.

Assuming we will have such powerful electron dispensers at our disposal in a few years, the SUV should be able to add 158 miles of range in just five minutes. But Nio is also invested in popularizing battery-swapping stations. It says drivers will need only three minutes to get a fresh high-voltage energy storage unit.

The cylindrical 46105 cells are big (46 mm in diameter and 105 mm in height) and have a 292 Wh/kg density. That's similar to what Tesla's 4680 cells can do when pushed to the absolute limit.

Nio ET9
Photo: Nio
Nio will use the ET9 to debut its in-house computing platform that's supposed to debut a 5nm chip for autonomous driving and to make the technology on board feel amazingly snappy. Besides that, the computer will also be connected to the internet, which will enable it to store data and use the power of remote servers.

The Chinese company also promised that the EV will boast "aviation-grade safety standards." That translates into driving, braking, sensing, computing, communication, and power distribution backups.

Sadly, there's no word about the powertrain's capabilities. What this flagship will be capable of remains to be seen. It's certainly very promising.

The Nio ET9 is set to arrive in the first three months of 2025. Pricing starts at around RMB 800,000 (USD 112,783). Pre-orders are currently available only to Chinese citizens.

Until then, we must remember that Nio promises to show the world unseen-before technologies once the ET9 is ready for deliveries. Europe and America have less than a year and a half to develop something that's at least as good as what Nio just introduced. Otherwise, things might not look very good for the auto brands that have ruled the industry for the last 50 years.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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