Formerly known as NextEV but mostly famous for its brief Nurburgring record-holder Nio EP9 electric hypercar, the Chinese electric vehicle startup is looking to bring the fight to Tesla in the crossover sector.

Their first ever production series model – we can’t really take into consideration the stupendous EP9, of which just six examples have been produced so far – the ES8 flagship SUV has been recently unwrapped at the Shanghai Auto Show in China. The company is now looking to start production and first deliveries at home in China next year, with the market being the leading one globally in terms of regular and electric sales. Padmasree Warrior, the former Cisco CTO, is now Nio’s American CEO, and he recently detailed the crossover as it’s being prepared to reach the United States.

For starters, today Nio has a market value of $2.9 billion and has so far raised about one billion, with notable backers being Tencent (who recently also took a 5% stake in Tesla for $1.78 billion) and Baidu. To back their claims, Nio is going to sell a total of ten EP9 supercars at $1.48 million a piece and is looking to compete with Tesla ate every level, including in terms of autonomous driving after already getting its permit to test the technology in the state of California. The electric SUV is scheduled to arrive in the United States by 2020 – the ES8 is a direct competitor to Tesla’s Model X with seven seats and standard AWD. The model will be manufactured in China with help from JAC Motors, and even features a “swappable” battery, level 2 autonomy systems, as well as a digital cockpit featuring an AI assistant.

Via Business Insider


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