Meet this cute guy on the dashboard called Nimo and he will become your travel buddy. He greets you when you get in and says goodbye when you leave, in the meantime he sometimes winks at you, plays the saxophone to the rhythm of the music, or plays with the yo-yo out of boredom, and when you reach the destination of the trip entered in the navigation, he nods happily “head”. But most of all, he will listen if you happen to need something from him, because he is here in the role of a digital assistant. You might get tired of its cute animations over time, but your kids will definitely love it and look forward to it in the car. That alone could be the reason to buy a Nio (because no other car has anything like it), but this brand has ace up its sleeve much, much more!
Nio is a young Chinese car company (like all…), whose history including the development and production of cars goes back only to 2016 (or 2014 still as NextEV). But its development was really rapid, because it currently produces nine models and last year it produced over 160,000 cars – practically only for its home country of China, because it is expanding to other markets rather cautiously than headlong. Technologically, it belongs to the very top of electromobility, it is the only one that operates a network of stations where, instead of lengthy charging, it immediately replaces the entire discharged battery with a charged one, and you are on your way within a few minutes. However, this network is developed only in China so far, there are only 30 such stations in the whole of Europe.
Let’s start with boring technicalities, which are, however, necessary for this hot new product on the Czech market. The skateboard chassis provides the basis for an electric drive built on a 400V architecture, the battery can have a capacity of 75 kWh (range up to 406 km) or 100 kWh (range up to 529 km) with the possibility of charging with a power of up to 180 kW, and its energy is then supplied by an asynchronous electric motor in the front with a power of 204 hp and a synchronous rear producing 286 hp (the EL6 is therefore primarily rear-wheel drive, the front wheels are connected if necessary), so that together it has a monstrous 490 hp and 700 Nm.
The Nio also relies heavily on an exceptionally wide range of sensors, in addition to the usual 12 ultrasonic (parking) sensors and several radars, there are also a number of cameras (not only for the 360° parking system, but also for reading signs, monitoring lanes and obstacles, and mainly for monitoring surroundings, so you can record the course of your journey seen from several angles at the same time or monitor the surroundings of a parked car) and above all LiDAR, i.e. “laser radar” – together they form an extremely detailed picture of the situation in front of the car so that Nio Pilot (driving assistant) can drive the car as accurately and safely as possible.
If the thought of Tesla keeps creeping into your mind, don’t resist it – it’s quite obvious where the Nia developers got their inspiration from. You can smell it directly from the smooth lines of the exterior design and the minimalist interior arrangement, but also from the “Apple” concept of infotainment. The main difference is that, unlike their American counterparts, the engineers from China did a MUCH better job.
And it’s not just about the much-vaunted splicing of the body panels and the overall production quality, which can bear comparison with the European competition. It is mainly about a whole range of details that Tesla simply skimped on due to lower production costs – starting with sensory equipment (Tesla bets on cameras and got rid of the rest, which is cheap, but also downright dangerous) through materials and interior processing (in Niu it is practically leather everywhere, which is a pleasure to touch) to ergonomic necessities, for example, you always have an informative panel in front of you complete with a head-up display, a turn signal and wiper lever under the steering wheel, and a very intuitive and stylish gear selector on the central tunnel. The Nio EL6 was obviously not designed by the opponents of the proceedings…
And this can be seen in the way the EL6 drives. While the Model Y didn’t drive in any inspiring way and just “did its job” on asphalt (ie didn’t fall off the road in a corner), the Nio can work with the surface better (also thanks to adaptive dampers), cuts corners very neatly and allows itself to be encouraged to drive more briskly – which is spoiled only by the withdrawn steering, which can deprive you of a piece of confidence when entering a corner, especially on frozen (or snowy or wet) asphalt (in sports mode it stiffens a little and feels more natural).
During normal driving, however, the EL6 is a very comfortable and reassuring partner, the chassis can handle even worse surfaces (especially on the basic 20-inch wheels, the additional 21-inch wheels are perhaps a bit too much for Czech roads), the ride is exceptionally smooth and quiet (how should an electric car should have been) and the driving assistant handles basic situations with an overview (however, it must be admitted that Tesla’s Autopilot is a bit further along in development), so you can relax behind the wheel, enjoy the luxurious features (seats electrically adjustable in 14 directions with heating/ ventilation and massage, hi-fi with 23 speakers with a power of 1,000 W, an internal air purification system complete with three fragrances) – and observe Nomi’s creations.
Nio EL6 is simply not “another cheap China”, but a truly premium product with everything – technology, equipment and processing. And the price. In the Czech Republic, you can buy it for about two million, so its rival is not actually the Tesla Model Y or the Škoda Enyaq iV, but rather the Mercedes EQE SUV or the Audi Q8 e-tron, which, however, are still quite a bit higher in price. So even though the Nio EL6 is not cheap, it still offers an excellent price-performance ratio. And most of all, it’s just a really good car that other brands could learn a lot from. No wonder European automakers are so afraid of Chinese electric cars…
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. 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.
|asynchronous electric motor at the front, synchronous electric motor at the rear
|360 kW (490 hp)
|permanent reduction gear
|all four wheels
|2 323 kg
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h
|up to 529 km
|AC 11 kW, DC 180 kW
|Wheels and tires
|4 854/1 995/1 703 mm
|2 915 mm
|Volume of the luggage compartment