Boxing is convenient for understanding new things, but it can also be dangerously simplistic – but the Chinese Nio is really close to the American Tesla. Just look at the sleek exterior and minimalist interior and it’s immediately clear who it was copied from. But Nio develops the Tesla concept even further and brings its own innovations that set it apart. For example, by offering its customers a classic station wagon.

The Nio ET5 Touring is a sporty-elegant station wagon measuring 4.8 meters in length, offering five seats for the crew and a 450-litre boot (1,300 liters when the rear seatbacks are folded flat with the loading edge) – a Tesla Model 3 with a rucksack, if you will . The interior is reminiscent of the Model 3, but compared to it, the ET5 has slightly better materials and workmanship, ambient lighting with a choice of 256 colors, an audio system with 23 speakers and a power of 1000 W, a huge panoramic roof and lots of handy storage shelves and boxes.

Photo: CARIO / Ondřej Kroutil

The cabin of the ET5 is minimalist like the Tesla, but it retains important elements like the instrument panel or a few physical controls. The seats inside are not exactly to be given away, but you will certainly not miss comfort on board: the front seats can be heated and ventilated and with a massage function, the doors with retractable handles have frameless windows and are equipped with a self-closing function.

However, unlike the Model 3, the ET5 will offer the driver a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel complementing the 12.8-inch infotainment (the Model 3 has 15″, but also combines driving information), which runs a nimble and clear system. Of course, there is also (English) voice control with the assistant Nomi, who can even have his own face with a very curious look (which is especially useful if you don’t like traveling alone).

A personal digital assistant named Nomi is always on board (she speaks English), for an extra fee she can have a cute face like this.Video: Nio

Wide offer

Nio currently produces eight models with very unmemorable names combining letters and numbers. But we will try to organize it for you. The ET range includes three pieces, the smaller ET5 sedan (4.8 meters long) with the ET5 Touring variant and the larger ET7 sedan (5.1 m). The ES series are family SUVs, from the smallest EL6 (4.8 m), the hot new medium EL7 (4.9 m) to the large EL8 (5.1 m). The two SUV-coupes EC6 and EC7 are derived from them. All cars are very similar in terms of design and functionality, so you actually choose according to the size and parameters you need.

Photo: Nio

An interesting fact is that, due to the rapid model change, practically all cars are completely new, i.e. introduced last year or this year (often already in the second generation).

Even more interesting, however, is the technology under the hood. In the middle of the skateboard chassis made of high-strength steel and aluminum, battery cells with LFP chemistry (lithium-iron-phosphate) with a capacity of 75 (usable 70.5 kWh) are stored, enabling a range of 435 km on a single charge, or you can pay approx. 220,000 extra for a larger 100kWh (usable 90 kWh) battery with NMC chemistry (lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese) and a range of up to 560 km.

Photo: Nio

The 400V architecture limits the maximum charging power (140 kW for the smaller battery, 125 kW for the larger), but Nia’s secret weapon is the network of stations, where it will exchange your empty battery for a fully charged one in just two minutes. However, there are around fifteen such stations in Europe so far and they will not expand to the Czech Republic any time soon.

The drive is provided by two electric motors (one on each axle, so it is a four-wheel drive) with a total output of 490 hp and 700 Nm. The ET5 accelerates to 100 km/h in four seconds and reaches a top speed of 200 km/h, so it’s definitely no slouch. The five-link front and rear suspension should ensure confident behavior in corners, while passive shock absorbers with hydraulic stops should bring solid comfort even on the basic nineteen-, respectively. additional twenty-inch wheels.

Photo: CARIO / Ondřej Kroutil

The 450-liter trunk complements the ability to tow up to 1.4 tons “on the ball” and carry up to 75 kg on the roof.

Nio is also moving towards autonomous driving, but unlike Tesla, which relies only on cameras, the Chinese do not skimp on sensory equipment – ​​in addition to radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors, it is also armed with seven ultra-high-resolution cameras and LiDAR (that is, laser radar). Together, they create a perfectly accurate image of the surrounding environment for more precise driving and reacting to obstacles. Nio thus manages autonomous driving in a lane (including automatic lane change) and parking.

Photo: CARIO / Ondřej Kroutil

Wide sensor equipment (the bump in the middle is LiDAR, below it is a camera that recognizes signs, lanes, etc.) spoils the smooth lines of the car, but on the other hand, it fundamentally expands the capabilities of autonomous driving and increases safety.

We will find out how it all works in practice, maybe in a few weeks behind the wheel of the first test piece, but for now, after the first fleeting personal meeting, we can confirm that the Nio ET5 inspires confidence with its overall sophistication – not only “for a Chinese car”, but in general within the global competition. Tesla and others should start to worry!

At the moment, the Chinese car manufacturer Nio does not have an official presence on the Czech market, its cars are individually imported to the Czech Republic by the Prague company Cario. ET5 Touring prices start at the level of 1.6 million crowns, which corresponds to comparable competition.

The standard three- (for the basic model) or a five-year factory warranty and you get a standard 8-year / 160,000 km warranty on the batteries. The service is carried out through foreign partners and the official assistance of the car company Nio.