NIO announced the ES8 SUV in 2017 and started production in June 2018, but it was only available in China, while the rest of the world still had to wait.
The Chinese carmaker understood that if it wants to compete against other premium carmakers from Europe, it had to work with the best suppliers for various underpinnings. NIO did that and took the air-suspension from Continental and the brakes from Brembo. Also, it worked together with Tata Technologies for the powertrain. The seven-seat SUV showed a mature vehicle without the typical flaws in a new carmaker's design process.
Since the SUVs were still in high demand on the market, NIO didn't want to start with cheap electric vehicles. It went straight for the top customers with an electric, seven-seat SUV that showed a big, trapezoidal front grille extended to the lower side of the apron. Its LED headlights stood above the side scoops, under the daytime running lights bars. Its profile showed widened front and rear fenders and sculptured door panels. It was still a conservative approach to the market, with a clear SUV shape. In the back, the taillights' wave-like pattern resembled those installed in a Renault Megane hatchback, but they fit well in the overall vehicle's design.
The interior was filled with premium materials in most areas and showed great attention to detail. A wide center console separated the front occupants and featured storage areas and two big cupholders. On top of the dash, the Nomi AI assistant was there to help and entertain the driver.
Like its other products, the NIO ES8 featured four electric motors, one in each wheel. It provided a total of 544 hp, and its replaceable battery pack came in three sizes.