NIO Started Deliveries of the ET7 on March 28

NIO wants to be recognized as a luxury brand. That’s why we had rumors circulating about an affordable brand until William Li said it would be to NIO what Toyota is to Lexus. Interestingly, the ET7 shows that NIO will get there by charging a fraction of the price other premium brands have for their EVs. And it has started doing that on March 28 for this sedan.
NIO ET7 deliveries start at the company's headquarters in Hefei 16 photos
Photo: NIO
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Deliveries of the ET7 started on this day at the company’s current headquarters in Hefei. The company is building a new one that will be in the same Chinese city but in another part of it: NeoPark, a 16,950-acre (68,594,183.46-square-meter) “smart electric vehicle industry park” that will deliver 1 million EVs and 100 GWh in battery pack production per year when it is at full capacity.

Sold for RMB448,000 ($70,337 at the current exchange rate) in its entry-level version, it cost 41.5% of what Mercedes-Benz charges for the entry-level version of the EQS in China: RMB1,079,600 ($169,500). The German electric sedan will have to have convincing arguments to cost so much more than the ET7 – especially if it delivers on some of the promises NIO made about it.

The first is its capacity to travel more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) when it gets its 150-kWh battery pack in 2022. This new swappable component will have a semi-solid-state cell that will increase energy density in battery packs of the same size as the 100-kWh pack that the vehicle already has.

The second is the NAD (NIO Autonomous Driving), a subscription service the Chinese company plans to offer by Q4 2022. The worrying name suggests that NIO will either provide autonomous driving capabilities – which is highly unlikely to happen in 2022, even if the ET7 uses LiDAR – or follow Tesla’s steps in autonowashing. As Liza Dixon explained when she coined this expression, it means to imply that a vehicle is more autonomous than it really is. NIO Autonomous Driving is not much better than Tesla’s Full Self-Driving in that regard.

A more feasible promise is Banyan, which NIO describes as a piece of software “that keeps evolving and grows together with our users,” suggesting some sort of machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence). That may be possible due to NIO’s NT2.0 platform, which counts on four Nvidia DRIVE Orin chips.

Each of them has a computing power of 254 TOPS (Trillions or Tera Operations per Second). For reference, the Tesla Model 3 counts on 144 TOPS, while the enhanced computer system of the ET7 would beat that with a single Nvidia DRIVE Orin processor. Its four chips give it 1,056 TOPS.

In terms of dimensions, the EQS has an advantage. The ET7 is 5.10 meters (200.8 inches) long, 1.99 m (78.4 in) wide, 1.51 m (59.5 in) tall, and has a wheelbase of 3.06 m (120.5 in). It is a shorter machine than the EQS, which is 5.22 m (205.5 in) long, 1.93 m (76 in) wide, 1.51 m tall, and has a wheelbase of 3.21 m (126.4 in).

We’ll have to watch how well the ET7 does not only in the Chinese market but also in Norway, where it is supposed to go on sale by the last quarter of 2022. It may already arrive in Europe with the 150-kWh battery pack NIO promised. If it sells better than the EQS, we’ll have a winner. Pricing alone may help it get there.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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