A new electric SUV from a Chinese auto company is challenging Tesla’s Model Y with its longer range. The manufacturer claims the new ES7 can go 578 miles on a charge. The Model Y has a range of only 330 miles.
However, with a price tag of $70,000, the sleek new car isn’t a cheap electric solution. NIO, a leading Chinese electric vehicle maker, has designed a pretty fancy car in its ES7. You can choose from a black, white or brown interior, with leather upholstery that’s been tanned with coffee shells. Not only are all the seats heated, but the front seat even gives you a massage. The S-shaped instrument panel boasts a touchscreen infotainment system and a virtual assistant. The company says it wants the ES7 to feel like “a second living room,” though it might well have better speakers and lighting than your own, unless you happen to have a 256-color digital waterfall of ambient lighting. Most exciting of all—and probably most dangerous—you can put on special augmented reality glasses to turn the driver’s seat into a digital cockpit.
Fortunately, there are lots of safety features, too. The ES7 will monitor blind spots, recognize traffic signs and help you stay squarely in your lane. 33 sensing units such as cameras, sensors, radar and a LIDAR unit will make the car almost drive itself. But not quite.
One intriguing aspect is that people will buy the car, but not the battery. Instead, NIO offers Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS). Purchasers pay a monthly subscription cost and change out the battery as needed. So far, there are about a thousand battery swapping stations in China, and the number is growing. NIO has also started introducing this feature to its European market. The charging network is also expanding.
NIO was founded in 2014. It quickly became a leader in electric vehicles, with models like the ES8, ES6, and EC6 SUVs. People who live in China can now preorder the ES7 on the NIO app, with deliveries planned to begin at the end of August. Preorder and delivery dates to Europe are still to be determined.
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