Chinese startup NextEV is one of many companies vying to become the next Tesla Motors. But other than backing a team in the Formula E electric-car race series, it has kept a relatively low profile. Until now, that is.
At a launch event in the U.K., NextEV unveiled its Nio car brand and its first product, an electric supercar called the EP9. While many other automotive startups plan to emphasize autonomous driving and connectivity, NextEV says Nio will help consumers rediscover the “joyful lifestyle” of car ownership by building “inspiring vehicles that deliver superior performance.” Its mission may change in the future, though.
NextEV claims that on October 12, the Nio EP9 achieved a lap record for electric cars at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe, the famous German racetrack that’s become a benchmark for new production cars. The EP9 lapped the Nürburgring in 7 minutes, 5.12 seconds, NextEV claims. On November 4, the EP9 also achieved an electric-car lap record for France’s Circuit Paul Ricard, with a time of 1 minute, 52.7 seconds, according to NextEV.
The EP9 is powered by four electric motors, producing a combined 1,341 horsepower. NextEV did not quote a 0 to 60 mph time, but it did say the EP9 will do 0 to 200 kph (0 to 124 mph) in 7.1 seconds, and reach a top speed of 194 mph. The car is equipped with an “interchangeable battery system” that allows for charging in 45 minutes, and a range of 427 kilometers (265 miles), according to NextEV.
The company bills its creation as the “world’s fastest electric car,” but there’s at least one other supercar that could challenge that claim. The Rimac Concept One is an electric supercar from Croatia that’s been under development for the past few years. The base model boasts 1,088 hp, and a claimed top speed of 221 mph. However, since neither car has been thoroughly tested, it’s impossible to validate these claims.
While NextEV is launching with a supercar and trying to get consumers enthusiastic about car ownership, it may eventually go in a different direction. Founder William Li has said he plans to ultimately focus on connectivity and infotainment, seemingly following the model of U.S. startup Faraday Future and its Chinese patron, tech giant LeEco.