China's new energy vehicle companies are introducing silicon carbide (SiC) technology, and after BYD, NIO is set to become the second local company to use this technology.
On June 22, NIO announced that the first C prototype of the SiC electric drive system has been rolled off the production line, which is a batch prototype for process and production test verification.
As a product of NIO's second-generation electric drive platform, the SiC electric drive system is more efficient, compact, and lightweight.
After the mass production of the technology, it will be equipped with NIO's first sedan, the ET7, to provide a longer range for the vehicle.
In the field of new energy vehicles, silicon carbide is mainly used in power control units, which can be applied to drive and control inverters for motors, onboard chargers, fast charging piles, and other systems.
At present, mainstream car manufacturers still use IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor chip), but Tesla and BYD have started to use Sic MOSFET in the Model 3 and Han EV models.
NIO unveiled the flagship sedan at NIO Day 2020 on Jan. 9, and it continues the high-performance characteristics of the company's models.
The NIO ET7 is priced at RMB 448,000 ($70,100) - 526,000 before subsidies. If users choose NIO's battery rental option BaaS, the pre-subsidy price drops to RMB 378,000-398,000 with a monthly battery rental of RMB 980-1,480.
NIO ET7 is available with 70kWh, 100kWh ternary lithium batteries, and 150kWh solid-state batteries, and its NEDC operating range is over 500km, 700km, and 1,000km respectively.
Its powertrain will adopt the second-generation high-efficiency electric drive platform built with new materials and equipped with dual front and rear drive motors. It has a combined maximum power of 480kW, peak torque of 850N-m and 0-100km/h acceleration time of 3.9s.
The silicon carbide power module of the second-generation electric drive platform is said to be optimized for range.
The electric drive system for NIO models is supplied by its motor manufacturing business XPT, which was founded in 2016 to provide an integrated EDS electric drive system with an integrated high-performance motor, gearbox and motor controller.
NIO President Qin Lihong once said that people should not simply understand XPT as a factory; it is actually an independent company.
NIO wants XPT to be able to supply externally and be strong like Delphi, Qin said in an interview with Tencent News last year, adding that many great companies first started out as internal parts suppliers for OEMs, and NIO wants XPT to have a path to grow independently.
XPT's electric drive system deliveries reach 87,456 units in 2020, up 32.4% from 2019.
XPT's 100,000th electric drive system rolled off the production line in July 2020, and its installed electric drive volume exceeded 10,000 units delivered in a single month in October.
On March 20, 2021, eight months after the 100,000th electric drive system rolled off the production line, XPT's 200,000th electric drive system rolled off the production line.