Second Nio sedan (Nio ET5) to challenge the Tesla Model 3 [Update]

Nio plans to launch another sedan after the ET7, a lower-priced smaller car that can fetch higher volumes. The new Nio sedan, called ‘Nio ET5,’ will compete with global midsize electric cars like the Tesla Model 3 and the Mercedes C-Class EV (Mercedes EQC sedan) said to arrive in 2024. The BMW i3 is another challenger set to come out in 2022 as a conversion EV in the Chinese market, while the global-spec BMW i3 sedan is expected in 2025.

Design & Features

The Nio ET5 is a sleek fastback sedan proportionally similar to the Nio ET7. The fluidic sedan features a low profile, futuristic front-end with dual-beam vertical headlights, separate, double-dash DRLs, concave nose, and a trapezoidal lower grille.

The ET5 has flush door handles, EP9-inspired muscular haunches, and sharp creases. At the rear, it flaunts the crystal-like heartbeat tail light of the ET7, and a sportier, diffuser-style bumper. Up top, the ET5 has a LiDAR sensor on the roof like the ET7.

Inside, the dashboard and centre console draw on the contemporary design of the ET7 and aim to replicate the ambience of the living room. Invisible air vents help the interior look cleaner compared to traditional sedans. UWB digital key makes entering the car easy and convenient.

Nio ET5 interior dashboard
The Nio ET5 features a three-spoke steering wheel, but the rest of its interior design is nearly identical to the ET7.

PanoCinema, featuring AR and VR technologies, projects information viewable through Nio-exclusive AR glasses. The effective screensize of PanoCinema is 201 inches, and the maximum distance at which it projects the information is six metres. Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 surround sound system, 256-color curtain ambient lighting, and 10.2-inch HDR instrument cluster are among the other interior highlights of the ET5.

ADAS & Safety

The Nio ET5 features ‘Nio Adam Super Computing,’ a supercomputer built on four NVIDIA Drive Orin systems-on-a-chip (SOC). This electronics platform achieves a total of more than 1,000 TOPS (Tera Operations Per Second), and it enables safe autonomous driving functions that need a lot of computing power.

Nio has equipped the ET5 with 33 high-performance sensing units, including 11 high-res cameras, 1 ultralong-range high-res LiDAR, 5 mm-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, 2 high-precision localisation units, V2X, and ADMS. The new electric car can autonomously drive on highways, in urban areas and parking, and at battery swap stations. Customers will need to pay a CNY 680 (EUR 94) monthly subscription fee to use the autonomous driving functions.

Nio is targeting five-star safety ratings in C-NCAP and EuroNCAP. It says that the ET5’s rollover-resistance rating is above the NHTSA’s five-star requirement – 1.7. Tesla started using the new large die casting process with the Model Y this year, and from 2022, Nio plans to follow. The company has revealed that the ET5 features an integral cast rear floor, which reduces its mass by 30% and frees up 11 liters of boot space. The ET5’s torsional stiffness is 34,000 Nm/degree.

Specifications

The ET5 measures 4,790 mm in length, 1,960 mm in width, and 1,499 mm in height. The electric mid-size sedan has a 2,888 mm wheelbase. Nio has fitted two motors in the ET5, a 150 kW induction motor at the front and a 210 kW permanent magnet motor at the rear. These motors produce 360 kW of total power and 700 Nm of total torque.

Nio ET5 side profile
The Nio ET5 can travel over 1000 km with a 150 kWh battery pack. Image Source: Nio

A 0-100 km/h sprint in the ET5 takes as little as 4.3 seconds. Brakes with indigenously developed 4-piston fixed callipers with aluminium casting bring the electric sedan to a halt from 100 km/h in a distance of 33.9 metres. Nio will offer the ET5 with 75 kWh Standard Range, 100 kWh Long Range, and 150 kWh Ultralong Range battery pack options that provide a range of over 550 km, over 700 km, and over 1,000 km, respectively.

Price & Release Date

The Nio ET5’s prices start at CNY 328,000 (EUR 45,451) before subsidies and CNY 258,000 (EUR 35,751) with BaaS (Battery-as-a-Service). Depending on the variant, the monthly subscription of the battery pack under the BaaS model costs CNY 980 (EUR 136) for the 75 kWh option and CNY 1,480 (EUR 205) for the 100 kWh version. Nio expects to start delivering the ET5 in September 2022.

Chinese reports had said that Nio had received 100,000 pre-orders for the ET5. However, Ma Lin, the company’s senior director of corporate communications, has denied that Nio has released any such information, CnEVPost reported on 22 December 2021.

Nio ET5 front three quarter dynamic
The Nio ET5 can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in as little as 4.3 seconds. Image Source: Nio

The Nio ET5 is likely to become the brand’s next best-selling model. Edison Yu, a Deutsche Bank analyst, expects Nio to sell 65,000 units of the ET5 by 2023, says a report from Business Insider. Yu’s intel suggests that a Lexus LM-style executive Nio MPV is also on the pipeline, arriving after the volume-generating mid-size sedan, though Nio has not said anything about entering the MPV segment.

Nio is ambitious about making itself a global brand, as per an earlier report from CnEVPost. At an event in Beijing in December 2020, Bin Li had said that in the next ten years, the company hopes to achieve not only market success in China, but also establish itself in the smart EV segment globally. The company started European operations in September 2021 with the ES8 SUV in Norway, to be followed by the ET7 in 2022. It should also make the ET5 available in the Old Continent in 2023.

Nio is working on an LFP battery, and for the benefits like lower cost and longer life it provides over an NMC battery, it is likely to strap it to the smaller incoming models. According to a report from Yuguancheshi, Nio has made a deal for an LFP battery production line with CATL. Tesla already offers this chemistry in the Model 3 in China, and below is what Bin Li thinks of it:

Of course, there are some inherent advantages of the LFP battery pack. A very important one is the cost. But there are also some weaknesses and shortcomings with this technology or form factor. For example, the performance of the battery pack in low temperature. This is going to significantly affect the user experience, especially during the winter. If we can solve the performance bottleneck under low temperature, I believe it should be the right timing and the right choice for us to use LFP battery pack and form factor.

William Bin Li, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Nio (Nio Q1 2021 Earnings Conference Call)

Featured Image Source: Nio