Chinese startup Nio's EP9 electric supercar sets Nürburgring lap record

Nio EP9 Nurburgring
The quickest street-legal car to lap the Nürburgring is electric.

The Nio EP9, an electric supercar built by Chinese startup NextEV, lapped the famous German racetrack in just 6 minutes, 45.90 seconds. That’s a substantial improvement over the 6:52.01 set by the Lamborghini Huracán LP640-4 Performante last fall. But because just 16 copies of the EP9 will be built, some will likely consider the Lambo’s lap time to be more meaningful as a yardstick for production cars.

This is actually the second time the EP9 has visited the Nürburgring. Last fall, it set a lap time of 7:05.12. Nio said the 19.22-second improvement was achieved thanks to better weather conditions on the second attempt.

The EP9 is powered by four electric motors, producing a combined 1,342 horsepower. While Nio won’t quote a 0 to 60 mph time, it claims the EP9 can do 0 to 200 kph (0 to 124 mph) in 7.1 seconds, and reach a top speed of 124 mph. The supercar also features an “interchangeable battery system” that allows charging in 45 minutes, an estimated range of 265 miles, and autonomous-driving capability.

The initial batch of six EP9 production cars was reserved for company investors, but Nio plans to build a second batch of 10 cars for the general public, priced at $1.48 million each. It’s unclear whether any of these cars will actually make it to the U.S., but Nio does plan to have a presence here in the future.

In March, the company announced plans to sell autonomous electric cars in the U.S. by 2020, and unveiled the Eve concept as a preview of what those cars might look like. The Eve drew criticism from Nick Sampson, R&D boss at fellow electric-car startup Faraday Future. Sampson felt the Eve plagiarized the design of Faraday’s own FF91 electric SUV.

Last month, Nio unveiled its first volume production model, the ES8. It’s a seven-seat SUV intended for the Chinese market. While it lacks the Eve and EP9’s autonomous-driving capabilities, the ES8 is a more sensible starting point for a new company trying to break into a tough industry. In has promised a premium electric SUV at a “Toyota price,” and we’ll soon find out if it can deliver.


The 2019 Detroit Auto Show: Where new muscle cars, trucks, and EVs convene

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.

Nissan turns the electric Leaf into a hot hatch with supercar-like acceleration

The Nissan Leaf isn't what comes to mind when you think of a performance car. Nismo wants to change that. It used Leaf parts to create a track-only electric hot hatch called the Leaf Nismo RC that boasts AWD and twin electric motors.

The 8-seat, 3-row 2020 Telluride SUV is the biggest Kia ever

It's fitting that the 2020 Kia Telluride debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, as it was built specifically to meet U.S. buyers' insatiable demand for SUVs. Kia packed the eight-seat cabin with family-friendly tech as well.

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.