Nio ET5: our test drive of both Sedan and Touring

Nio ET5, like all vehicles from the brand, knows how to stand out in the increasingly crowded market of electric cars, offering quality, efficiency, and the unique feature of battery swapping.

@nordiskbil A stop as a petrol car! #batteryswap #nio #niopowerswap #nioet5 #electriccars #carsofdenmark #danishcar #chinesecars #technology #foryou #tips #5steps ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

We tested both the fastback and the Touring body styles, both with 490 HP and a range of 550 km, covering over 2000 km. Here’s how it went.

NIO ET5: Our tops and flops

The Nio ET5, the brand’s first vehicle designed for Europe, boasts a beautiful design, excellent build quality, and an exciting driving dynamics, thanks to numerous customization options and driving modes. Inside, it exudes a premium and quiet environment, enhanced by the Dolby Atmos audio system with 23 speakers and 1000 W of power, which is truly an added bonus. Not to mention the power: a 490 HP family car for less than 800,000 DKK / 1,000,000 SEK / 1,120,000 NOK is hard to find. It may not be for everyone, but it’s more democratic than its competitors and, among other things, reduces charging times thanks to Power Swap. The only downside is the closed system and the potentially not fully utilized capabilities of Nomi, as the rest of this vehicle has many strengths, including top-notch hardware and software safety.

What we like:

  • Feeling of safety confirmed by 5-star EuroNCAP rating;
  • Exceptional driving dynamics;
  • Charging is always fast, with or without battery swapping.

What we don’t like:

  • No compatibility with CarPlay and Android Auto;
  • Nomi doesn’t understand perfectly;
  • Everything is set up through the central screen

Battery Swapping: how does it work?

Let’s start with the experience of Battery Swapping, which I think is what most people reading this article are interested in. You can also see our tik tok-video at the beginning of this page.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

Since we’re dealing with large batteries, up to 100 kWh for this model, it’s obvious that the operation cannot be done at home but requires a visit to Nio Power Swap stations, the battery exchange stations. They are relatively small and fully automated, and you can book them from the car’s touch display, where you literally order a battery. The system also tells us how many batteries can be stored at a given station.

Currently, there is only one Nio Power Swap in Denmark, in Slagelse(about 100 km from Copenhagen), but closer ones are in Malmö, Sweden, less than 30 km from the Danish capital, and inaugurated a few weeks ago along with the one in Arlandastad, also in Sweden. In total, Nio has 30 Power Swap Stations in the five European countries where it operates, and the most of them obviously in Scandinavia.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

When you arrive at the station, it will already be open for you. The system will also indicate the “queue,” or how many other drivers have booked the same station more or less during the same period, just before you. In my case, fortunately, there was no one.

The car should be positioned outside the station, with the front facing not towards the entrance but from the opposite side, in a dedicated outline. From here, we must click on Swap on the screen, and the car will enter the Power Swap autonomously, without us having to do anything except stay inside.

Nomi, our voice assistant, will inform us of all the steps, and after the check is complete, the station will start the operation of removing the depleted battery and inserting the new one, usually charged to over 90%, during which the car will obviously shut down completely.

Exiting the Power Swap will require our intervention and is reminiscent of when you exit a car wash. And probably, reading this story took you more time than it took for the battery change.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

And the costs? They are included in the battery rental or in Nio Subscription. Yes, because with Nio, we go back to the past, and to use Power Swap when purchasing the car, you don’t have to buy the battery but rent it. This makes the purchase much more affordable.

This is because, by changing them more or less continuously, it would not make sense to own them. And this is the basis of the brand’s philosophy: the battery not as part of the car but as one of the services linked to it. Battery as a service, except that anyone who wants can also buy the entire battery, using the car as a “normal” electric one.

By far, I prefer the Touring

The Nio ET5 is a beautiful car in both its versions. It is the first one that Nio specifically designed for the European market, given the dimensions of 4.7 meters in length, much more suitable for the European audience compared to the flagship ET7, which exceeds 5 meters. Designed for Europe also because it comes in a station wagon body, arrived in the second half of 2023, anticipating the trend that will see the return of wagons thanks to electric vehicles.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

In any case, despite being Chinese, Nio has many elements that make it Westernized. The design, for example, although it has all the typical features cherished by Eastern manufacturers, such as retractable door handles or full-width rear lights, seems to be made to appeal to the refined tastes of Europeans.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

And indeed, it bears the hand of Kris Tomasson, a US-born designer of Icelandic origin, which explains the sophisticated minimalism of the Nio ET5’s forms in both its variants.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

Generally soft, simple lines, with an elongated hood and a short tail, as the fastback tradition requires. And bright but never exaggerated colors, cold and inspired by nature. For example, I had the ET5 Fastback in the beautiful Blue Stratosphere, capable of highlighting all its shapes; while the Nio ET5 Touring in an equally pleasant Arctic Green, more sober and serious but still distinctive.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

In both cases, 20-inch wheels, with the Gladiator pattern for the ET5 Fastback that enhances its sportiness, and always with orange Nio brake calipers.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

The overall setup, however, is sporty, and it seems even more so from the sensors on the roof, reminiscent of air intakes but actually divided into the central Lidar and the cameras on the sides, plus the one on the rear roof, which in turn joins those on the sides, above the wheel arches, and on the bumpers. They create Nio Aquila, a name that expresses this car’s excellent visibility (Aquila means Eagle, in Latin and Italian).

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

Excellent visibility, and excellent safety, given not only by the software but also by the construction. The chassis is a high-strength hybrid steel/aluminum frame, with integrated fusion technology applied to the rear floor, reducing mass and allowing a simultaneously lighter, stronger construction with much more space for passengers.

However, between the two, perhaps the Touring is the more elegant in terms of shapes, pleasing to the eye. At least according to my personal taste.

Dolby Atmos audio is amazing

Internally, the two variants are identical, and the differences are noticeable in the roof, higher in the Touring and therefore more suitable for taller people (as me, I’m 190 cm tall) or transporting bulky items. As well as in the luggage compartment, more accessible and more capacious: we’re talking about 386 liters of minimum capacity on the Fastback, 450 on the Touring. There’s also the possibility to have the tow hitch, with electronic opening.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

For the rest, the setup is identical. It takes up the external minimalism, with various color options inspired by the earth. In our case, on both versions, the upholstery was in Sand color, very bright. But there is also Vetiver green, inspired by the forests of Sweden and Northern Europe in general, Onyx Black, and Cool Grey.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

They are all made with Clean composite materials to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% throughout the production process, and Clean is the fabric covering the seats, 100% recycled from PET bottles and with 3D Fly Knit processing that gives them visual vivacity and three-dimensional patterns. In the center, a 12.7-inch display, and behind the steering wheel, the digital dashboard.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

The real gem is the 23 speakers for a total power of 1000 W of the Dolby Atmos audio system, which can be appreciated with the integrated Tidal app. The experience is exceptional, and of course, always customizable in the direction. In addition to Tidal, the system also integrates Spotify.

Image: NordiskBil

Integrated apps because the Nio system is closed, that is, not compatible in any way with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Everything happens through the 12.7-inch display and with Nio’s proprietary OS, which has the navigator as its home, well-made and functional, from which, among other things, you can set the destination for charging stations or Power Swap.

Image: NordiskBil

And then there’s Nio, the friendly voice assistant that also acts as a robot with Nomi Mate (optional), very entertaining when “bored” and starts dancing with us, but not particularly advanced in itself. It only responds when asked practical operations for the car, such as setting seats and steering wheel, but often does not understand. Especially in non-Anglo-Saxon countries, like Scandinavian ones, making it understand where we want to go is almost impossible.

Family-friendly with 490 HP

The powertrain is also identical in both versions: 490 HP of total power from two electric motors, with 0-100 acceleration in 4 seconds and a range of 550 km.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

The fastback is certainly the one that allows the most dynamic and fluid driving because it has a slightly lower aerodynamic drag coefficient. But the Touring is not a true station wagon: it positions itself as a more economical answer to the Porsche Taycan Turismo and therefore also enjoys a very dynamic and pleasant line, appreciated when driving.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

As well as the low center of gravity and fluidity, despite these being cars weighing 2.2 tons, which don’t seem to feel at all. There are also many driving customization options: Eco and Comfort for everyday use, Sport and Sport+ to make the most of acceleration. And then snow, wet, and sand, not for off-road but certainly for more complicated situations, given that there is all-wheel drive. Sport+, however, is the most fun, stiffening the suspension a bit and making the steering even more precise, for a rather satisfying experience.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

Satisfying and comfortable, and here comes into play Nio Pilot, the semi-autonomous driving system that can be used in Europe. It is activated with the button on the left side of the steering wheel, and from that moment on, we only have to stay focused. The car maintains speed, stays in the lane, slows down to a stop and restarts on its own in traffic. Very useful during long trips.

Nio ET5
Image: NordiskBil

Despite the battery swapping, of course, the Nio ET5 and the Nio ET5 Touring can be recharged like all electric vehicles. And it has an excellent charging system, thanks to the 400 Volt system and supported power of over 200 kW, which also takes less than 20 minutes to recover 80%, depending on the charging station. In short, however you want to put it, the ET5 is a travel electric car, very comfortable, very spacious, and very powerful.

Price and battery rental in Scandinavia

Denmark

Here Danish prices of Nio ET5:

  • 408.000 DKK for Sedan/fastback (excluding batteries)
  • 424.000 DKK for Touring (excluding batteries);
  • 501.000 DKK for Sedan/fastback including 75 kWh battery;
  • 517.000 DKK for Touring including 75 kWh battery;
  • 621.000 DKK for Sedan/fastback including 100 kWh battery;
  • 637.000 DKK for Touring including 100 kWh battery;
  • 1.299 DKK / month rental for 75 kWh battery;
  • 2199 DKK / month rental for 100 kWh battery.

You can also subribe to Nio Subscription and pay 8.936 DKK / month for the car. At the moment, Subscription is available only for ET5 fastback.

Sweden

Here Swedish prices of Nio ET5:

  • 556.000 SEK for Sedan/fastback (excluding batteries);
  • 576.000 SEK for Touring (excluding batteries);
  • 686.000 SEK for Sedan/fastback including 75 kWh battery
  • 706.000 SEK for Touring including 75 kWh battery;
  • 796.000 SEK for Sedan/fastback including 100 kWh battery;
  • 816.000 SEK including 100 kWh battery;
  • 1.799 SEK / month rental for 75 kWh battery;
  • 2.999 SEK/ month rental for 100 kWh battery.

You can also subribe to Nio Subscription and pay between 10.899 and 13.410 SEK / month for the car. At the moment, Subscription is available only for ET5 fastback.

Norway

Here Norwegian prices of Nio ET5:

  • 426.000 NOK for Sedan/fastback (excluding batteries);
  • 439.000 NOK for Touring (excluding batteries);
  • 526.000 NOK for Sedan/fastback including 75 kWh;
  • 542.000 NOK for Touring including 75 kWh battery;
  • 614.525 NOK for Sedan/fastback including 100 kWh battery;
  • 630.000 NOK for Touring including 100 kWh battery;
  • 1.399 NOK / month rental for 75 kWh battery
  • 1.999 NOK / month rental for 100 kWh battery.

Nio Subscription is currently not available in Norway.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *