(Image credit: NIO)
"The XXXXXXX market is about to change after the release of NIO's fifth production car. #5 is bigger than 3."
Ma Lin, senior director of corporate communications at NIO, posted this update in his WeChat status the day before the NIO Day 2021 event.
Ma did not specify which market he was referring to, but it's safe to speculate that it is the Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) market. After experiencing NIO's new car launch on-site, we think Ma's hint is likely to become a reality.
NIO held NIO Day 2021, its most important annual event, on December 18 in Shanghai's neighboring city of Suzhou to launch the highly anticipated new sedan ET5.
The ET5 is NIO's second sedan after its flagship ET7, and the company's fifth production model.
Launched on NIO Day 2020, the ET7 will be available for order lock-in starting January 20, with deliveries beginning March 28. Prior to the ET7, the company's models were all SUVs.
The ET5 has the lowest starting price of all NIO models, but it has the almost same powerful specifications as the ET7, and may replace the company's current best-selling ES6 SUV as the new hot seller after deliveries begin.
In terms of dimensions, the ET5 is a midsize sedan with a length, width and height of 4,790, 1,960 and 1,499 mm, respectively, and a wheelbase of 2,888 mm.
It is slightly larger than the Tesla Model 3, which measures 4,694 mm in length and has a wheelbase of 2,875 mm. The ET5 is also slightly larger than the BMW 3 Series.
This size will satisfy most hobby drivers, and on top of that, NIO has set very competitive price tags for the ET5.
If consumers choose to purchase the model that includes the battery pack, the pre-subsidy price is:
RMB 328,000 for the version with the 75-kWh battery pack.
RMB 386,000 for the version with the 100-kWh battery pack.
If the consumer chooses to give up ownership of the battery and use NIO's battery rental service BaaS, then it is priced at:
RMB 258,000 for the 75-kWh battery pack version, with a monthly battery rental fee of RMB980.
The 100-kWh pack version is also RMB 258,000 and the monthly battery rental fee is RMB 1,480.
It is worth noting that under China's current subsidy policy for NEVs, models priced above RMB 300,000 are not eligible for subsidies, while models supporting battery swap are exempted.
NIO is currently the only Chinese carmaker to offer battery swap-enabled models to the general public, which means that the ET5 will still receive China's state subsidies even though its price is higher than RMB 300,000.
NIO has not announced a post-subsidy price for the ET5, but according to what is known so far, although China's subsidies for NEVs will be reduced by 30 percent next year compared to 2021, ET5 consumers will still receive a subsidy of about RMB 10,000.
In addition to these popular all-electric vehicles in China, the ET5 is also priced to compete with the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Compared to these similarly priced models, the NIO ET5 is equipped to make it competitive.
In terms of range, the ET5 with a standard 75-kWh range battery pack has a CLTC range of over 550 km.
To be honest, this is not a particularly dazzling achievement, but the Tesla Model 3 entry-level model has a CLTC range of 556 km and the XPeng P7 entry-level model has an NEDC range of 480 km.
However, it is worth noting that all NIO models support battery swap, meaning that even if consumers buy into a standard range model, they can always pay to upgrade the battery pack to one with a higher range.
The ET5 with a 100-kWh long-range battery pack has a range of over 700 km, while the ET5 with a 150kWh ultra-long-range battery pack has a range of over 1,000 km, NIO said at the launch event.
On December 5, NIO announced that all customers can upgrade their battery packs on a monthly basis according to their needs. This follows a pilot run by the company in July in a handful of cities.
As of now, NIO customers who wish to upgrade their battery packs can choose to do so either permanently, or on an annual or monthly basis.
For consumers who have purchased models from other brands, if they regret buying into a model with a short range, there is nothing they can do but trade in their car.
In addition, NIO has equipped the ET5 with attractive features, including frameless electric suction doors and, for the first time in its models, an all-glass roof similar to that of the Tesla Model 3.
The ET5 also has sensors similar to those of the ET7, including roof LiDAR, giving it the same computing power as the ET7 and thus the basis for the same assisted driving capabilities.
NIO says its latest autonomous driving technology, NAD (NIO Autonomous Driving), will be available on the ET5.
The full functionality of NAD will be available on a monthly subscription model, known as ADaaS (AD as a Service), with a service fee of RMB 680 per month, which will be provided gradually after development and validation is completed.
In terms of power, ET5 is a performance beast. It uses a dual-motor intelligent four-wheel drive system and has a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 4.3 seconds and a braking distance of 33.9 meters from 100 km/h to zero, according to NIO.
To cater to a broader consumer base, NIO offers up to nine body color options for the ET5, the most of any of its models.
In the current competition of EV makers in China, smart cockpits are a focal point, such as XPeng offering a projector option on the P5 sedan, allowing users to better enjoy the interior space.
NIO is thinking differently, as the ET5 will come with AR/VR technology. NIO has developed exclusive AR glasses that project 6 meters of visual distance in conjunction with Nreal, an AR device maker backed by NIO Capital.
NIO also collaborated with NIO Capital-invested VR technology company NOLO to develop NIO VR glasses, the world's first automotive-specific high-performance VR device, according to the company.
NIO today announced that the ET5 is available for pre-order now and will open for delivery in September 2022. That's far faster than the ET7, which was launched on January 9, with deliveries not due until the end of the first quarter of next year.
Some Chinese social media bloggers said that the NIO app was down at one point due to overwhelming usage after the ET5 became available for pre-order during NIO's launch event.
When checked by CnEVPost, the NIO app was working fine, with a large number of users sharing screenshots of their pre-orders.
It's unclear how many of these pre-orders will eventually translate into final deliveries, after all, the current pre-orders can be refunded at any time.
But it's safe to say that the ET5 is expected to become NIO's hottest-selling model, just like the Model 3 is to Tesla.
NIO delivered 10,878 cars in November, a record high for a single month. Its best-selling ES6 SUV delivered 4,713 units in November. The ES8 delivered 2,683 units in November and 3,482 for the EC6.
The following benefits are offered by NIO to those who pre-order the ET5.
ET5 pre-order deposit is RMB 2,000. Those who make a pre-order from now on will receive an optional Moon-themed exterior design kit worth RMB 4,500 and orange calipers worth RMB 3,500 for free.
NIO will announce the deadline for this benefit in the future.
Existing NIO owners, including those who have paid a deposit, will also enjoy exclusive benefits if they purchase the ET5 after obtaining current vehicle delivery.
For ES8 Founding Edition customers:
They will receive 50,000 NIO Credits after purchasing ET5 and getting delivery, which is equivalent to RMB 5,000 and can be used to shop at NIO Life online mall.
For non-ES8 Founding Edition users:
They can get 30,000 NIO Credits after purchasing ET5 and getting delivery.
The first owners of the NIO ET5 have the following benefits:
10-year unlimited-mileage warranty.
Free battery swap for life, up to 6 times per month.
Lifetime free in-car internet connection.
Free exclusive charging pile.
Lifetime free roadside assistance.