NIO launches first autonomous driving model

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer NIO has launched its first autonomous driving model – the flagship ET7 smart electric sedan.

With a pre-subsidy price starting from RMB 448,000 (US$69,000) – or from RMB 378,000 (US$58,500) with BaaS (Battery as a Service) – an NEDC range of over 1,000km, and over 1,000 TOPS computing power, the ET7 sets a new standard for premium electric vehicles, NIO says.

The ET7 features NIO’s latest NAD (NIO Autonomous Driving) technology based on NIO Aquila Super Sensing and NIO Adam Super Computing. NAD brings safer and more relaxing autonomous driving from point A to point B, gradually covering use cases such as expressway, urban driving, parking, and battery swap, according to the company.

NIO has built up the NAD full stack autonomous driving capability, including perception algorithms, localization, control strategy and platform software. NIO Aquila Super Sensing features 33 high-performance sensing units, including 11 8MP high-resolution cameras, one ultralong-range high-resolution lidar, five millimeter wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, two high-precision positioning units, V2X and ADMS. Aquila can generate 8GB of data per second. NIO Adam features four Nvidia Orin SoCs with a total computing power of 1,016 TOPS.

NAD’s 19 safety and driver assistance features come standard on ET7. NAD’s full functions can be subscribed to with AD as a Service (ADaaS) for a monthly subscription fee of RMB 680 (US$100).

ET7 breaks the norm by integrating high-performance sensors naturally into the body. The ET7 is 5,098mm in length, 1,987mm in width and 1,505mm in height with a wheelbase of 3,060mm. The dual beam LED headlights and the double-dash daytime running lights echo with the crystal-like heartbeat taillight to form a streamlined silhouette.

High performance

The ET7 is equipped with a 180kW permanent magnet motor in the front and a 300kW induction motor in the rear. Maximum power is rated at 480kW with peak torque at 850Nm. The ET7 accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and has a stopping distance from 100km/h of 33.5m. With a drag coefficient of 0.23Cand the application of the second generation high-efficiency electric drive platform with silicon carbide power module, the energy efficiency is further improved.

With a 70kWh battery pack, the ET7 has an NEDC range of over 500km, or over 700km with a 100kWh battery. When coupled with the new 150kWh battery, ET7 boasts an NEDC range over 1,000km.

Designed to meet both China and Euro NCAP five-star safety standards, the ET7 features a high-strength steel aluminum hybrid body, with a torsional stiffness of 37,100 N·m/deg. Smart air suspension and continuous damping control are standard on all ET7s. The 4D dynamic control based on high-definition maps and high-resolution sensors can detect road conditions and actively adjust the suspension for a more comfortable ride.

Inside the ET7

The interior of ET7 is a further interpretation of the ‘second living room’ concept: a refined and cozy mobile living space. Frameless windows and soft-closing doors come standard for easy entry and exit. ET7 also marks the first application of ‘Karuun’ renewable rattan on a production model for a green and natural experience. The standard massage seats with heating and ventilation offer a reassuring and comfortable experience for every passenger.

NIO’s second generation smart cockpit on the ET7 has enhanced in-car mobile connectivity and communication capability enabled by the third generation Qualcomm Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform. The new 12.8in AMOLED center display has greatly improved resolution and contrast. The world’s first in-car AI system, NOMI, continues to evolve. The 7.1.4 immersive sound system with 23 speakers and 1,000W total output is standard on all trim levels.

The company says the ET7 is now available for pre-order, with deliveries estimated to start in Q1 2022.