The new electric Nio ES8 will take aim at the Tesla Model X

Published: 18 December 2017

► The Nio ES8 is half the price of a Model X in China
► Similar range and 0-62mph time
► No plans to release it in the UK right now

CAR magazine drove the Nio EP9 earlier this year, and it was one of the most coarse, ridiculous cars we’ve ever tested. Designed by the same people behind the NextEV Formula E team, the EP9 was the first car by ever made by the new Nio brand, and now we’ve seen the second.

Called the Nio ES8, the new car from the Chinese brand is a little less extreme, but could be far more significant. Featuring a range of 311 miles, the all-electric ES8 is in the same ballpark as the Model X P100D’s 350 mile range, but it’s going to cost a lot less.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese customers will be able to buy the ES8 for 448,000 yuan (£50,700) compared to the P100D’s (£94 613) asking price – making it nearly half price.  

What’s the NIO ES8’s range and specs then?

Despite its relatively cheap price, the ES8 has impressive specs. Nio says its new seven seater can hit 62mph in just 4.4 seconds, making it faster than the P100D, and it should also have the same semi-autonomous functions seen in the Tesla, too.

A Tesla Supercharger rival too

Alongside the ES8, Nio is also preparing a rival for Tesla’s Supercharger platform, too. According to Bloomberg, owners of the ES8 will be able to charge their cars by taking them to power-swap stations, and the process of switching batteries should take under 3 minutes. It’s a totally different process to the less-fiddly, but longer process of Supercharging, but like every other service it’ll need to have a strong infrastructure.

Nio says it’ll building more than 1100 power-swap stations in China by 2020, and will compliment them with 1200 ‘Power Mobile’ service vehicles, which essentially act like mobile battery chargers. It’s an ambitious plan, but Nio says each battery swap station will only take a day.

It looks like the ES8 is only going to be sold in China at least to begin with, and there appears to be no plans to bring it over to the UK either. If launched anywhere else, it’ll be interesting to see if Nio also invests in a similar infrastructure to the one it’s planning in China.

More on Nio: we meet its founders and explore the strategy

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast