Nio ES8 is a Tesla-rivalling electric SUV from China

CHINESE start-up electric car manufacturer Nio has launched the ES8, in an effort to compete with Tesla.

Nio ES8 electric SUV PH

Nio ES8 electric SUV is almost half the price of a Tesla Model X

Now on sale in China, the Model X rival starts from 448,000 yuan (around £51k) in its home market, almost half of its main competitor’s 836,000 yuan (around £95k) price tag.

The ES8 is a seven-seater, all-electric SUV, with a 70kWh battery pack powering all four wheels.

It produces 644bhp and 840Nm of torque, propelling the vehicle from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds — although no top speed has been confirmed. Range is claimed at 221 miles.

The car’s chassis and body are both entirely made from aluminium, with Nio claiming it “features the highest amount of aluminium for any mass production car” and air suspension is fitted as standard.

As for technology, the ES8 boasts autonomous technology — named Nio Pilot — which sees 23 sensors and four exterior cameras work together, allowing the car to drive itself when activated, similar to Tesla’s Autopilot tech.

Nio claims that the SUV’s supercharging technology allows it to receive 62 miles of range in just 10 minutes, although no estimation has been made for a full charge time.

ES8 owners will also be able to take advantage of a battery swap service, which will allow the pack to be exchanged for a new one in three minutes at a dedicated station. Nio aims to have 1,100 of these facilities open in China by 2020.

Nio ES8 PH

Nio ES8 boasts autonomous technology with 23 sensors and four exterior cameras

William Li, founder and chairman of Nio, said: "We hope that we can have more people interested in smart electric vehicles by presenting ultimate products and services, and then we can achieve our vision of bringing back blue skies.

"Nio wants people to enjoy owning a car again and aspires to redefine the experience of owning a car. The ES8 launch is another beginning for Nio."

The Nio ES8 is currently only on sale in China, with no European release officially confirmed.

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