In Depth

NIO unveils all-electric seven-seater ES8 SUV

All-electric SUV will feature 'swappable battery packs' and active air suspension, reports say

NIO, the sub-brand of Chinese start-up NextEV, has unveiled its new production car ahead of this week's Shanghai Motor Show: the all-electric ES8 SUV. 

It's the second car to join the company's electric vehicle line-up, with NIO's 1341bhp all-wheel drive EP9 hypercar making its public debut towards the end of last year.

The ES8 is a radical departure from its hypercar sibling, offering buyers a seven-seat layout and active air suspension. Its electric motors are located on the front and rear axles, meaning power is sent to all four wheels. 

One of the key features of the ES8 is its "swappable battery pack", says Autocar, which should allow buyers to charge their cars more easily. 

In a bid to minimise weight for better handling and battery life, the magazine says the NIO ES8 uses aluminium "for both the body and chassis". It's already on course to hit production, as the company has established facilities for manufacturing. 

Inside, the ES8 houses "a digital gauge cluster and a vertical infotainment screen", says Cnet. There is also what appears to be a vent system that spans the entire width of the dashboard, with only a handful of physical dials located just below the vertical touch-screen. 

Prices and performance details are expected closer to the car's official launch at the end of the year, with NIO estimating deliveries to reach customers "next year". At the moment it will be available exclusively to the Chinese market. 

The Shanghai Motor Show runs from 21-28 April

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