Currently reading: New Nio ET5 is Tesla Model 3 rival with up to 620 miles of range
Chinese EV brand reveals new compact saloon as it ramps up global expansion plans

Chinese EV manufacturer Nio's new ET5 is a rakish compact saloon aimed squarely at the Tesla Model 3.

Unveiled at the firm's annual Nio Day showcase, the ET5 is the brand's fifth production model, joining the EC5, ES6 and Nio ES8 SUVs and the upcoming ET7 luxury saloon

It is priced from the equivalent of £38,935 in China (including battery), slightly less than the dual-motor Tesla Model 3 Performance. Deliveries in China are set to get underway in September 2022, with European examples arriving in spring 2023.

Unlike the Tesla, the ET5 – based on the same Technology Platform 2.0 as the ET7 – is available exclusively with a twin-motor powertrain, which comprises a 201bhp asynchronous motor on the front axle and a 282bhp motor at the rear for total combined outputs of 483bhp and 516lb ft. The 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 4.3 seconds, but Nio has yet to give a top speed figure.

Three battery sizes are available: a 75kWh Standard Range unit with a claimed range of more than 342 miles, the 100kWh Long Range unit which bumps the range past 435 miles and the range-topping, 150kWh Ultralong Range battery which claims a range of more than 620 miles – a figure which could make the ET5 one of the longest-range mainstream EVs on sale globally.

Et5 8

However, these figures are homologated according to China's CLTC test cycle, and will likely not be emulated in WLTP testing.

The relationship with the ET7 is clear in the 4700mm-long ET5's rakish, liftback-style silhouette. Nio claims the rear haunches are inspired by its EP9 supercar, while a wider track "and sharp chiselled forms" hint at the car's "sporting intent". 

Additionally, features such as the subtle ducktail spoiler, flush doorhandles, frameless windows and prominent front air intakes aim to boost aerodynamic efficiency – which will be key to the ET5 achieving its impressive claimed range figures.

The minimalist cabin is similarly modelled on the ET7, sharing that car's largely featureless dashboard, vertically oriented infotainment touchscreen, digital gauge cluster and panoramic roof. Highlights include a sustainable 'Clean+' upholstery material which is claimed to improve the interior's acoustics, 'invisible' air vents, a 256-colour ambient lighting system and a standard-fit Dolby Atmos sound system.

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Nio also claims the ET5's will feature "an industry first" when it comes to in-car entertainment. The manufacturer has worked with tech company NREAL to develop bespoke augmented reality glasses which can project a virtual 201in screen six metres in front of the wearer.

Et5 interior 1

The ET5 will be equipped with autonomous driving functionality from launch, and will "gradually achieve a safe and reassuring autonomous driving experience for scenarios such as highways, urban areas, parking and battery swapping". The features will be rolled out to owners after launch, available for the equivalent of an £81 monthly subscription. 

Battery swapping is a defining feature of Nio's business model, and customers who opt to participate can cut the equivalent of roughly £8000 off the price of their ET5. Battery swapping can be carried out at a dedicated facility in as little as three minutes, giving a full charge far quicker than even the fastest chargers on the market.

By the end of 2022, Nio anticipates that it will have more than 1300 battery swap stations in operation across China. It also recently signed an agreement with energy firm Shell to expand its battery swapping infrastructure into Europe as it begins to target markets outside China.

Nio has already launched in Norway, and plans to begin selling cars in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark in 2022. At the unveiling of the ET5, boss William Li announced that Nio will have a presence in more than 25 countries by 2025.

Plans for a UK launch remain unconfirmed, though. The brand has previously cited the UK as a region of interest, having revealed the EP9 supercar in London and established a simulation centre in Oxford, but has previously said it will only come here when the market conditions are right.

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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Peggysue Gill 9 May 2022

This car is amazing! No more range anxiety with this! But is it ever going to be available in the UK? I have a horrible feeling that it won't be...

The Apprentice 21 December 2021

150kwh battery.. now your talking!!!! guaranteed full days work worst case mileage, no problem (its not unusual for me to do 350 miles some days) heck you could even have the heating on all the way toasty, oh dear stuck on the M25 for two hours? no problem, still got the heating on and juice in reserve. Lovely. Not bothered about 0 to 60 in 0.4 nanoseconds (8s or better is fine) but I want my day to run efficiently end to end. When EV's with this kind of capacity become commonly available for me, its mike drop time.

Gerhard 21 December 2021

Having first-hand experience of Nio products in China, their SUVs at the time, I am impressed with the fit & finish and attention to detail in their vehicles. I have no doubt this new sedan will be a success, if it is as well-designed as their previous efforts.