Home: Motoring > NIO ES8, first on-road testing, you need to know more

NIO ES8, first on-road testing, you need to know more

From:Internet Info Agency 2018-09-10 10:27:51

NIO, due to its media-background CEO and fastest Nurburgring lap record made by the EP9, is considered to be the “celebrity” in the auto circle. Over the past three years since its establishment, every news about NIO can trigger public concern, especially in the past six months. NIO has gradually completed the delivery of its first batch of the ES8, the opening of several NIO Houses, and the IPO in the United States, step by step. It is undeniable that companies that are excellent and have innovative ideas cannot be separated from the support of good products. After more than half a year since the introduction of the NIO ES8, we conducted the first time on-road test in the urban area. Personally, I think that the driving experience and technology configuration are completely worth the price. As for the max cruise range, you totally don’t need to be anxious about.

Previously, my colleague had participated in the small-scale media venue test driving held by NIO. In that event, the ES8, which debuted for the first time, had a very detailed static experience but without long-distance experience. This article is a full complement to the ES8, which is more focused on the dynamic driving experience.

Before sharing the driving experience of the ES8, let’s start from its performance in configuration. Regarding the motor, NIO adopts the asynchronous motor that is rarely used in the auto market. According to general engineers of NIO, using this kind of motor is for the pursuit of better performance, and the layout of the two motors on the front and rear axles delivers maximum 480kW of power and 840 Nm of torque. In Sport mode, the 2.5 tons car accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds, which is 0.5s faster than that of the Tesla Model X100D and 4.2s for the BMW X5 M. The price of these two cars is more than 1 million yuan RMB (approx. $146.3k), while the ES8 is only 500,000 yuan RMB (approx. $73.1k).

Dynamic driving

The ES8 and the ES8 Founders Edition both equip with AIRMATIC system which can improve the convenience of the car. But it is the first time for a high cost system being used in a low price electric SUV.

The ES8 also has a unique starting method without a starting button. The step of starting the car is as follows: First, the driver sits in the car and presses the brake pedal to activate the vehicle to turn on the power, then shifts the gear to the D position, and when a READY displayed on the dashboard indicates that the vehicle is drivable.

The first time you drive the ES8 is easy and you don't need any adaptation at all. Acceleration and steering feeling are quite smooth. These will make people forget that this is a big guy with a body length of 5 meters.

The early stage of acceleration is not very sensitive, but the release of motor power is swift, so it is easy to accelerate in urban roads without stepping on the accelerator pedal for too long.

The two options of kinetic energy recovery system can be used only when the car is in the Individual mode. When it is in the Eco mode, the recovery strength reaches the top providing an obvious acceleration. In daily driving, Comfort mode is the best choice.

In the Comfort mode, the max kinetic energy recovery reaches 29kW, which is quite satisfactory for the ES8 equipped with a battery of 70kWh battery capacity.

Then it comes to driving modes. In the Comfort and Eco modes, drivers can have a light driving experience. While in the Sport mode, heavy steering and easy acceleration are obvious.

I experienced the so-called "violent" mode at a section without a car on the road. When the green traffic signal light is on, with accelerator pedal fully pressed, all the items in the car are suddenly thrown away by the sudden inertia, and the speed of the car has reached 120+ speed in no time. It feels like that "the soul has run far, but the brain seems to remain in place."

The chassis of this car feels like that of a 400k-500k Mercedes-Benz offering a stable feeling. Regardless of driving on a road that has big or slight bumps, pneumatic springs can absorb bump well, providing passengers a comfort feeling.

The height of active air suspension system can be reduced by 20/50mm, with a minimum chassis height of only 120mm and a maximum of 170mm. However, for the actual driving, the change in chassis height has little impact on driving experience. More significance lies in the aerodynamics and the convenience of passengers getting on and off the car.

Windows beside the front seats adopts double-layered laminated glass, which theoretically helps the sound insulation inside the car.

Since no active noise reduction system equipped in the car, there is room for improvement in creating a quiet interior environment. When the speed reaches 80km/h, the sound of the motor rotating at high speed can be heard in the driving position. When the speed is lower or higher than that, the sound is weakened. Meanwhile, when a car passes by, vibration can be felt, and noise can be heard. Since the drag coefficient is only 0.29, the wind noise in the car is not obvious.

ES8 is a 7-seater SUV with its length exceeding 5m. The grille on the car front is not given up because it is an electric vehicle, making it looked like a fuel car at least.

In terms of light, the front lamps and fog lamps are all LED light, providing the car a strong competitiveness among the same level vehicles. Height and on/off of front lamps can be adjusted automatically by system without light control button inside the car.

Quick charging and normal charging ports are set on the both side of fenders. The cover outside the ports can be opened by rotating from the front to the rear, which is a unique design.

The door handles are inductive. When passengers press the left side of the door handles, they will automatically open outward. If there is no operation for a few seconds, the door handles will be automatically retracted. This concealed design brings a simpler line feeling to the side of the car body.

The four front and two rear brakes calipers on Brembo OEM basis perform excellent in braking. The ES8 Founders Edition in this test is equipped with 265/45 R21 tyres which is optional in the standard edition. The price is up to 18,500 yuan RMB (approx. $2706).

The design of the rear end is in line with the shape of a SUV. Personally, I prefer the “Heartbeat” LED taillights, which are lively and easy to be recognized.

Interior, there are three color options for sport grey, urban black and technology brown. This testing ES8 is in black exterior and in technology brown interior. For interior materials, by paying another 29,000 yuan RMB (approx. $4242), the Nappa Premium Interior Set, including seat massage, the Nappa seat and the Nappa's secondary leg support and footrests, can be available in general version.

The interior design is very homely and high-tech. The center console is simple with all functions and information displayed in the two LCD screens. The Founders Edition comes with the Nappa Premium Interior Set, and the brown leather material looks quite superior.

NOMI, the world’s first In-Car AI system, which can be activated when passengers call "Hi, NOMI". The system can accurately identify the passengers’ riding position through the big data.

There is a wireless charging device in the front row, and a wireless charging base is mounted on the storage slot on the left side of the water cup holder. Mobile phones supporting wireless charging can be charging with it. The key of ES8 also supports wireless charging.

In terms of functions, NIO has not yet opened the NIO Pilot autopilot protocol, which means, currently, ES8 only has hardware devices. It is reported that NIO Pilot will be set into NIO cars in the way of OTA this year. For the ES8 software protocol part, I think there are still many places that need to be improved. For example, the window control button may not lift the window when the vehicle is opened for a long time and no operation command. At this time, drivers have to enter the vehicle and step on the brake pedal and close the door to reactivate the vehicle. Although this detail is not a malfunction, it will be slightly inconvenient in daily use.

The so-called “Queen’s seat” in the official video is quite comfortable. Since the ES8 removed the glove box, and repositioned the air conditioner compressor into the front compartment, the original glove box position was set with an electric footrest, providing passenger a feeling as if putting leg on the bed when the leg pad is straight.

Interior space

Front row space

When a 174cm (about 5’8ft) height passenger sitting in the driver seat in its lowest position, the space between his head and the roof is about a fist and four fingers wide.

Rear space

While sitting in the rear seats and keeping the front seats in its position, the space between his head and roof is a palm wide, and the space between leg and front seats is three fist wide.

The trunk is flat in order with spare room on both sides. When the seats in the third row was stand, the trunk volume is 312 liters, and it is 873 liters when the third-row seats are folded down.

Max Recharging Range

The total length of this test drive is 139 kilometers. Before the departure, the ES8 was fully charged, and the recharging range displayed 338 kilometers. We set the air conditioning temperature to 21 ℃ with the air volume was automatically adjusted, and 4 grown-up males sat in the car. When reaching the destination, the dashboard shows that 155km recharging range remaining. We basically stabilized the speed at 100 km/h on the high-speed way, and calculated an actual recharging range of 294 km at this speed on high-speed ways.

NIO is also the first Chinese EV manufacturer to publish the recharging range calculator. We know that the recharging range is affected by many factors such as driving habits, vehicle weight, weather, environment and tire wind drag. So, only publishing the NEDC recharging range is not rigorous to consumers. However, through the mileage calculator, the ES8 owner can roughly estimate the recharging range of the actual travel when driving the vehicle.


At present, the ES8 adopts a 240KW inductive high-performance motor, which is superior to a permanent magnet motor in high-speed response. NIO’s car-making concept is somewhat similar to the modular structure. In other words, when NIO introduces a more powerful motor in the future, theoretically, the old model can be updated by replacing the corresponding parts. According to reports, in the future, NIO will consider launching a 300KW high-power motor. Of course, it is not ruled out that the future ES8 will introduce an entry-level version with low-power for sales or product positioning.


The NIO ES8 does not use the cylindrical battery cell used by Tesla in the battery structure. Instead, it uses a hard-shell battery cell with a relatively high energy density but relatively safe battery. The ES8 battery cell supplier is CATL. The battery cell has an energy density of 135 wh/kg. The battery pack has a capacity of 70kwh. The fixed size of the battery pack means that the ES6 and the ET7 models will use it in the future as well. For the lighter weight ES6, the same battery pack will have a longer battery life than the ES8. In terms of battery life, vice president of NIO Electric Power Engineering introduced that after the NIO ES8 battery being charged 1500 time, the battery capacity will lose 20%, which is much higher than the 500 charging time of Tesla. For the battery management system, NIO Research Algorithm Management System ensures an accurate SOC measurement capability.

Quick battery-swapping system

For charging, the ES8 owners can call the “One-click Charging” service at any time through the mobile APP, and the cost is 180 yuan/time. The service adopts the order assignment mode. After the user placed an order, the NIO SERVICE will get in touch with the owner and drive to the location where the owner's vehicle is located at the fastest speed. According to the remaining of the vehicle's power, the charging specialist will choose whether to use the charging car to recharge the battery or to drive to the nearby power station to change the battery. The APP will also display the estimated delivery time. For the commuters, such an innovative service model is quite friendly to them, avoiding the car owner blindly looking for charging piles and wasting a lot of unnecessary time.

Finally, let's talk about the price. At present, the ES8 offers two options for purchasing, one of which is to rent the battery when purchasing the car. After selecting this option, the price of the car will be 10k yuan lower than the guide price, and the price of the ES8 standard edition without subsidy is 44.8-10=34.8k. After reducing state and local subsidies on this basis, taking Shanghai as an example, the final price is 275,400 yuan + 1280 yuan / month (battery rental fee). In this way, the price has become very friendly, allowing more people getting access to the lifestyle changes brought by high-quality electric vehicles.


This is my first time to drive NIO ES8. The 7-seat, 4.4s of 0-100km acceleration, and the upcoming NIOPilot temporarily makes it no competitors among the same level models. For the max recharging range issue, I think it is acceptable regarding the price. At present, the EVs at this price seems to have a common battery life. For NIO, its aim is more about the change of lifestyle. The car is only a carrier, and transport is only one of the most basic demands.

Editor:Huang Xuan