China-based electric-vehicle maker NIO has started rolling out the new generation of its flagship ES8 SUV. The first batch of the ES8 SUVs were rolled out officially at the company’s JAC-NIO Advanced Manufacturing Center in Hefei. The company said, delivery of these vehicles are expected to start sometime in April.
The new NIO ES8 will continue to be powered by two electric motors - a 160 kW permanent magnet motor and a 240 kW induction motor. The ES8 now delivers a total of up to 544 hp with a maximum of 725 Nm and can now be optionally delivered with the new water-cooled 100 kWh battery pack. This offers an improved range of up to 580 kilometres. Compared to the previous version, this means a range jump of more than 100 kilometres in real operation.
The 70 kWh version, which is still available, continues to be specified with a range of 500 km (NEDC), but in real operation the owners of the NIO ES8 have shown a realistic range of well under 500 km.
The NIO ES8 is now equipped with a Mobileye EyeQ4 chip that supports more than 20 new driver assistance functions and now also enables wireless software updates. Version 2.0 of the NOMI Mate voice assistance system is now optionally available. From now on, all vehicle functions including infotainment in the vehicle can be operated via voice controls.
So far, voice control NOMI only supported a standard set of functions. The vehicle is now also being supplied with an intelligent charging connector cover and an NFC key card for vehicle access.
In addition, NIO has now installed a 9.8-inch instrument cluster and an 11.3-inch vertical and Tesla Model S likes AMOLED touch display of the second generation for infotainment and operation as standard with the facelift.
The cash-strapped firm, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent and had been seen as a rival to Tesla, has been hit by dwindling demand and reduced government subsidies in China, the world's largest car market.
(Also read: A bailout won’t help China’s Tesla wannabe NIO)
The coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated NIO's troubles this year, disrupting production and delivery of its vehicles. NIO delivered 2,305 of them in January and February, which was lower than its target. The majority of cars delivered in the first quarter will be its ES6 sport-utility vehicle, which is more affordable than NIO's ES8 SUV model.
As coronavirus hits its supply chain, NIO expects aggregate deliveries for the first quarter of 2020 to be around 3,400 to 3,600, and is still confident of achieving its sales target for 2020.