Chinese Start-Up Firm: NextEV has just set a new electric car lap record at the Nurburgring with its latest model the NIO EP9 Hypercar. How often have you heard a start-up company say they have gone one better than existing manufacturers, hardly ever. Well, welcome to the world of China where unknown firm NextEV has launched what it claims to be the world’s fastest electric car ever.
Pure-electric cars have been around for a while but in the last five years or so, the mainstream manufacturers really started to take them seriously — prompted by tightening rules over when and where conventionally powered vehicles can be driven, and battery technology that has made them more usable in the real world.
As such, there have already been a few upstarts, most notably Elon Musk’s Tesla, which confounded the giant car brands by launching precisely the vehicle they said was impossible at the time: a luxury executive saloon with a range of more than 200 miles. Tesla’s offering will still out-accelerate the Chinese NextEV’s NIO EP9 up to a point. However the NIO EP9’s pace has been judged over more than just a quarter-mile drag race; this one-megawatt (1,341bhp) creation has proven its mettle around the famed Nurburgring in Germany, a 12.9-mile monster of a race circuit known simply as ‘The Green Hell.’
The 195mph NIO EP9 has lapped the track, NextEV claims, around 7m 05.12sec, or around 17 seconds faster than the previous electric car record. Indeed, to put that in context, the EP9’s time is only beaten in the all-time list by four cars, two of them racers, and the other two supercars from Porsche and Lamborghini. Yet this beast of a car, the EP9 can be recharged from flat in as little as 45 minutes, to offer a range of more than 265 miles. There is no guarantee that it will deliver this in production, but if it does, it has the potential to rewrite the rules of the hypercar market.
NextEV has committed so far to six examples, all reserved for the company’s initial investors. But, even with each EP9 costing around $1.2 million to build, the firm may consider an additional small production run, if only to raise its global profile further. China
is a hotbed of EV activity because crippling pollution in many cities has persuaded Beijing to open up that side of the business to ‘non-automotive’ companies.