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Image: NIO

NIO’s ES6 five-seater electric SUV was launched this week at an event in Shanghai, and the company further announced a battery upgrade plan for its existing longer-wheelbase, seven-seat ES8. Over 9,700 ES8s have now been sold in China, and upgrades to the new 84 kWh battery pack will be available from next autumn; six-seater versions will also be offered from spring 2019.

Deliveries of the ES6 will begin in China in June 2019. This model features a hybrid structure of aircraft-grade aluminium and carbonfiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), promising light weight and high overall torsional rigidity. It has a dual motor powertrain with a permanent magnet motor driving the front axle and induction motor the rear; in standard format each motor delivers 160 kW, giving 0-100 km/h acceleration in five seconds, and a claimed battery range of 410 km (70 kWh battery) or 480 km (optional 84 kWh upgrade). The Performance version has its motors producing 160 kW and 240 kW, giving 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, and for this model, a range of 430 km (70 kWh battery) or 510 km (84 kWh) is claimed.

NIO has also updated its NOMI interactive artificial intelligence system, integrated with speech recognition; the avatar-style digital assistant gains enhanced speech capability and more expressions. The ES6 further gets an updated head-up display, digital instrument cluster and 11.3-inch touchscreen. Its NIO Pilot hardware is said to support over 20 functions reflecting Chinese consumers’ car-use scenarios, including the creation of individual user accounts for settings and preferences, and this can be updated over-the-air. The company also notes that through its NIO Power division, it will expand services including home charging, mobile charging vehicles, and battery-swapping stations along key Chinese expressways.