The still young Chinese brand Nio ventures into the German electric car market with a special concept. Not only are the ET7, EL7 and ET5 models competitive at first glance, but a battery-changing concept is also intended to give e-mobility a new boost.

Boris Schmidt

Editor in the "Technology and Motor" department.

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All Nio have batteries that can not only be charged – with a maximum of 140 kW – provided that the entire battery pack can be replaced within five minutes. There are three exchange stations in Germany so far, another 17 are planned, another 100 in Europe. In China, there are 1300, more than 250,000 bills of exchange have already taken place, it is said.

Full equipment including towbar

The investments do not seem to play a role, Nio sees itself as a premium brand and the change as a unique selling point. The stations are planned on long-distance routes, so that the exchange brings a significant time advantage compared to the store. Up to 20 full batteries should always be in stock.

But even without the interplay, the 4.91-meter-long EL7 is a quite remarkable SUV. It comes fully equipped with all common assistance systems, glass roof, trailer coupling, air suspension and all-wheel drive. The customer only has to decide whether he wants the 75 or 100 kWh battery, set a color for the outside and inside, and determine the size of the rims. Delivery can be made in a maximum of four months, promises the German Nio headquarters, for which 140 people work in Gräfelfing near Munich.

The EL7 costs a proud 73,900 euros, plus the battery rent of 169 euros per month for the small and 289 euros for the large battery. If you want to buy, you have to put 12,000 or 21,000 euros on it. The range according to WLTP is 391 or 509 kilometers. On a first test drive, the 650-hp SUV confirmed the Nio ambitions. It drives confidently, springs comfortably and has a tremendous start. The top speed is limited to 200 km/h.