As advanced as new electric vehicles like the Lucid Air Sapphire and Tesla Cybertruck are, it’s always good to remember that China’s automakers are almost on a completely different level than everyone else. Case in point: Chinese EV maker Nio has unveiled its most technologically advanced and expensive model yet, the ET9 flagship. Priced from 800,000 yuan (the equivalent of $113,500) in China, the Nio ET9 is a technological tour de force, showcasing the most advanced tech the company has to offer at the moment.
It packs in-house developed 46105 large cylindrical cells, a 900-volt electrical architecture that supports 600 kW fast charging, a “SkyRide” intelligent chassis system featuring steer-by-wire and rear-wheel steering, three LiDARs integrated into the second-generation Aquila 2.0 super sensing system, Nio’s new NX9031 5nm ADAS-dedicated chip, the SkyOS operating system, and much more.
Described as a “smart electric executive flagship” when unveiled at the Nio Day 2023 event, the Nio ET9 adopts a body style that defies convention. It’s a massive high-riding fastback sedan slash crossover that measures 209.6 inches in length, 79.4 in in width, and 63.4 in in height, with a generous wheelbase of almost 128 in.
From a styling standpoint, it adopts Nio’s Landjet styling language shared with other existing models, sporting familiar front and rear ends with slim horizontal DRLs and taillights. While the body shape suggests it’s got a hatchback, it doesn’t; the ET9 appears to have a traditional sedan trunk.
Despite the intimidating footprint—bear in mind that the wheels are 23 inches in diameter—the ET9 offers only four individual seats inside with first-class comfort. The rear seats have a maximum backrest adjustment angle of 45 degrees, 11 adjustments, and a seat cushion width of 22.9 inches.
The left and right-side seats are separated by a so-called “Executive Bridge”, which includes a 360-degree tray table for the passengers in the rear seats, a mini-fridge, and one-click controls to activate the seven electric sunshades. There’s also a “Sky Island” panoramic glass roof that’s split in half by a longitudinal panel that integrates roof-specific and lighting controls.
The cabin features four big displays, including a 15.6-inch central unit, two 14.6-inch screens for rear passengers, and an 8-inch screen on the rear center console.
Nio’s flagship EV is powered by a 120-kilowatt-hour battery pack consisting of 46105 large cylindrical cells with an energy density of 292 Wh/kg and supporting 5C charging. The battery is said to add 158 miles of range in 5 minutes. It can also be swapped in three minutes with a fully charged pack at Nio’s Power Swap Stations. No range estimate has been disclosed yet.
Speaking of ultra-fast charging, the Nio ET9’s 900V electrical architecture boasts a highest voltage of 925V, a charging peak power of 600 kW, and a charging peak current of 765A.
The battery powers two electric motors delivering 697 horsepower (520 kilowatts) of system power and all-wheel-drive capability. The front induction motor makes 241 hp (180 kW), while the rear permanent magnet motor produces 456 hp (340 kW).
Another technical highlight is the SkyRide Intelligent Chassis System, which integrates steer-by-wire, rear-wheel steering, and a fully active suspension. The latter enables the Nio ET9 to deliver a driving experience “akin to traveling on a flat surface” in challenging road conditions, according to the EV maker. Nio claims the ET9 is the world’s first car with a fully driven-by-wire chassis.
Nio has actually demonstrated the suspension’s sophistication in a video (via CarNewsChina) where the ET9 drives over speed bumps while carrying several glasses of champagne on the hood without spilling a drop of the tasty liquid.
The Nio ET9’s smart features are powered by the Adam 2.0 super computing platform. It includes the company’s first 5nm automotive-grade chip for autonomous driving and is the backbone for six major areas: intelligent driving, digital cockpit, as well as intelligent chassis, body, e-powertrain, and cloud.
The user interface for this platform is the SkyOS operating system, which allows the driver to adjust vehicle control, intelligent driving, cockpit, and mobile connectivity features.
The Nio ET9 is already available to preorder in China, but deliveries won’t start before the first quarter of 2025. The electric flagship will target competitors like the Porsche Taycan, Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV, HiPhi X, and HiPhi Z, among other upscale EVs.