The racing driver felt right at home inside the Nio EP9’s F1-style cockpit.
Rimac may be in the spotlight right now after Porsche bought a 10 percent stake in the company, but there’s another firm cooking up an electric supercar with well over 1,000 hp. We’re talking of course about the Chinese startup Nio and its EP9, which set an impressive EV lap record at the Nuburgring last year. Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg was recently visiting Nio’s headquarters in Shanghai to check out the EP9. Sadly, he doesn’t get to drive the Chinese rocket, but does give his initial impressions from behind the wheel.
“It feels like being in an F1 car, I mean, you’re really lying down,” he said. “Steering wheel right at the eye level. Very racy.” He also describes the interior displays as “futuristic” and “minimalistic,” and was impressed with the car’s extensive use of lightweight carbon fiber. If want to see the Nio EP9 in action, the electric supercar is tackling the famous Goodwood hill climb next month.
While we would have loved to see Rosberg tear up the track in the EP9, we instead get to see the racing driver take Nio’s Tesla-rivaling ES8 SUV for a spin. Obviously, it’s nowhere near as powerful as the EP9, but it’s still no slouch thanks to its dual-motor setup delivering a combined 644 horsepower, which put a smile on Rosberg’s face. Rosberg came away impressed with the ES8’s acceleration and handling, commenting that it’s “great to drive.” He did, however, criticize the EV’s aggressive energy recovery system, which Nio is still finetuning. He was particularly impressed with the SUV’s quality, technology and practicality, as well as the price.
In China, the ES8 costs the equivalent of $68,000 – for that, you’re getting a mid-size SUV that has room for seven and can sprint to 62 mph in less than five seconds. Nio plans to eventually sell cars in the US but hasn’t said which specific models will be sold over here. The electric startup has said it wants to sell an SUV with Level 4 autonomy in the US by the end of the decade, however.