An autonomous car has been seen as a safer solution compared to a regular run-of-the-mill car. But that has not made it a dull choice over the regular. Proving that are the Tesla and the Faraday Future cars which are setting a new benchmark in autonomous performance. And now there is a new contender in the form of the Nio EP9, a self-driven electric car made by a Chinese start-up called NextEV.
Similar to the LeEco, NextEV is also backed by Chinese investors. The company set its office in Silicon Valley last year wherein it has mentioned that it plans to makes electric and autonomous cars to cater to the Chinese market first followed by its entry in the international scene. And this is because the Chinese government offers incentives to consumers and companies for electric cars to tackle air pollution which has proved to be a severe threat in the recent times.
NextEV's first electric autonomous car is the Nio EP9. The electric sportscar is equipped with 1,360PS/6,333Nm making four electric motors powering all the four wheels. The 777V powertrain is supported by water-cooled Lithium-ion battery packs. The company states that the Nio EP9 can cover a distance of 426km at one full charge. Nio EP9's carbon-fibre tub mounted on the chassis complies with the FIA LMP1 standards for electric sportscars. As officially claimed, the Nio EP9 can reach 200kmph in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 312kmph. It also offers 2.53g of force while cornering at speeds of over 200kmph, similar to that of an F1 car. And how do you bring this fast and furious electric car to a stop? The Nio EP9 gets six-piston carbon-ceramic brakes and active rear wing creating double the downforce compared to the present-day F1 car.
Last year, the Nio EP9 lapped the famous Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 5 seconds, making it the fastest electric car on this track. But that was not enough for the electric car start-up. The company took the EP9 to the Circuit of the Americas where the electric sportscar in autonomous mode set a lap record of 2 minute and 40 seconds. And with a human taking charge of this electric beast, it did the same in 2 minute and 11 seconds with a maximum speed of 274kmph, making it faster than a regular production car on this track. Additionally, it is slower by a mere 7 seconds than the cars taking part in the World Endurance Championship's LMGTE Pro.
All of that performance info might have got you interested, but you can't buy the Nio EP9. The company has made six specimens of this electric marvel and all of that have been bought by the investors for $1.2 million which happens to be the production cost of the EP9. NextEV is also expected to roll our regular cars to compete with Tesla and Faraday Future; more on that will be announced at an event in March.