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Can the new NIO ET5 rival the Tesla Model 3?

This is the NIO ET5 - an all-new Chinese EV that’s got its eyes set on conquering Europe while taking the fight to Tesla.

First thing’s first, what’s ‘NIO’, and why should you care?

NIO is a Chinese auto manufacturer, headquartered in Shanghai, that’s dedicated to making all-electric vehicles. You might never have heard of the firm, but that hasn’t stopped it slowly making an impression on a global scale.

It has been involved in the FIA Formula E Championships, and there are three other models in the NIO line-up - the ET7, EC6 and the ES8 - with the new ET5 sitting at the foot of the range.

So far, NIO has been concentrating on selling cars solely to the Chinese market - but that’s all about to change, and it’s something that will make the likes of Tesla and Polestar sit up and take notice.

Last year saw NIO taking tentative first steps into Norway, and it’ll expand into Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark in 2022.

What’s more, NIO plans to establish itself in 25 countries and regions worldwide by 2025, and that’ll no doubt involve trying to woo UK customers.

So this, the ET5, could be a real taste of things to come for lease customers - particularly now that the Chinese-owned firm MG has been winning-over critics, particularly for the impressive and award-winning MG ZS EV.

A spokesperson for NIO says of the ET5:

“Blending performance with the luxury of space and the joy of driving, NIO’s most compact car to date features a pure and precise exterior with the concept of a cosseting second living space inside.”

A stunning interior cabin is promised, complete with a panoramic glazed roof and eye-catching Terracotta coloured materials.

There are invisible air vents, a 256 colour ambient lighting, a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 surround sound system, as well as a state-of-the-art ‘PanoCinema’ digital cockpit, featuring augmented reality and virtual reality tech.

The NIO ET5 is equipped for ‘autonomous driving’, to help out with motorways, negotiating urban areas, parking and battery swapping.

And perhaps most importantly, the ET5 is said to boast a double whammy of blistering performance and fairly astonishing range.

There are a few different powertrains to choose from - with the most powerful 490 PS unit capable of accelerating the ET5 from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds.

NIO says that with the 75 kWh Standard Range Battery you can expect 341 miles between charges. The larger 100 kWh Long Range Battery takes the range up to 434 miles.

Meanwhile the 150 kWh Ultralong Range Battery has an expected range of up to 621 miles before you need to stop and plug it in again. Bear in mind here that the Tesla Model 3 ‘Long Range’ model has a range of 360 miles in comparison.

William Li, NIO’s founder, chairman and CEO, said: 

"The year of 2021 is full of challenges. With a positive and optimistic attitude and outlook, NIO has grown together with its users. In 2022, we will continue to double down on product and technology development, accelerate the deployment of our service network, and enter more markets globally. We are confident about the road ahead."

The ET5 is set to cost the equivalent of around £40,000 in the markets where it’ll be available.

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Tuesday, 18/01/2022