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9 March 2017

Why NextEV is the best kind of mysterious Chinese electric car maker.

By Tom WhiteTom White
NextEV's Nio EP9.

Next EV’s Nio EP9 is no longer just the fastest electric car, it is also the fastest autonomous car.

We reported a few days ago on the autonomous Roborace test mules and how one of them crashed at a circuit in Brazil. Here’s the thing though, they weren’t going very fast. The Nio EP9 lapped Circuit of the Americas in 2:40.33 without a driver. To put that in context, the lap with a driver was 2:11 putting the autonomous tech within 30 seconds of the real deal. Impressive stuff especially since the same car (sans-autonomy) rolled away from the Nurburgring just a few months ago with an electric lap time within striking distance of the petrol-powered competition (7:05.120).

NextEV's Nio EP9 at Circuit of the Americas.

This is the thing about NextEV’s approach to electric supercars, unlike other brands in the current gold-rush of electric vehicle manufacturing they are not all talk.

They show up to a track, they break a record or two, then they go away for a while. That’s it. There’s no talk of investor drama or unpaid contractors or gigafactories or wild promises to transform the way we interface with cars. Just numbers, technology and videos to prove it. I can’t think of a better way to build interest in electric cars.