China’s leading electric vehicle (EV) start-up NIO Inc. released its first electric sedan with self-driving technology during the firm’s fourth NIO Day last Saturday in Chengdu, taking the fight to Telsa.
The pre-subsidy price for the ET7 sedan starts at 448,000 yuan (about $69,200) with a 70 kilowatt-per-hour battery pack. If consumers choose to subscribe to the battery services for a 980 yuan monthly subscription fee, the vehicle costs around 378,000 yuan (around $58,380).
Pre-orders began last Saturday, and the deliveries are set to start in the first quarter of 2022, according to NIO CEO William Li.
The ET7 has three different versions for consumers to choose from: the standard 70-kWh battery pack comes with a driving range of 500 km (328 miles); the 100-kWh battery pack has a driving range of 700 km (435 miles); the newly-released 150-kWh battery pack has a driving range of 1,000 km (621 miles).
The ET7 sedan can work with NIO’s new autonomous driving system that features an 8-megapixel camera, — versus Tesla’s 1.2 megapixels. Though dismissed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the lidar sensors will fit perfectly into the ET7 and aid the EVs to better perceive their surroundings. The lidar sensors feature 5mm-wave radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, 2 high-precision positioning units, a 1,550-nanometer laser, a 120-degree field of view, and a range of up to 500 meters to detect objects with millimetric precision. The autonomous driving system costs 680 yuan a month, William said.
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NIO’s new sedan also includes a laminated glass roof, heated and massaging seats in both rows, a 23-speaker audio system, and a low drag coefficient of just 0.23, according to the company.
After receiving around $1 billion in early 2020, NIO’s New York-listed shares closed the year up well over 1,000%, making the automaker the best performer among other New York-listed Chinese electric car start-ups. The company is revamping plans to enter Europe in the next few years.