An electric hypercar has smashed the production lap record at the old Nurbugring and the NextEV NIO EP9 could be the fastest car that you simply won’t be able to buy.
NextEV is a new company from China and they’re planning a line-up of more humble electric SUVs, sedans and hatchbacks. The NIO EP9 is their halo car, though, the technical masterpiece, and it just lapped the Nordschleife in 6m45.90s.
An EV Beats Lamborghini
That’s six seconds faster than the old pace setter, the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and 12 seconds faster than he Porsche 918 Spyder. In short, it’s a ballistic time round the fearsome 12.9-mile long German track that was deemed too dangerous for Formula One after Niki Lauda almost died in a fiery crash in 1976.
Now driving enthusiasts take the old ‘Ring on ‘tourist days’ and die regularly, while the manufacturers have turned it into a mecca for testing thanks to the challenging course, differing grip levels, high speed corners and the fact that it’s a fairly faithful representation of a public road that is normally closed to the public.
The lap record has become a championship belt for the manufacturers and now this new electric hypercar from China has turned the established order on its head and set a new benchmark for supercars around the world.
Some of the tuned supercars in our recent feature might have something to say about this, but they aren’t production cars in the strictest sense.
How fast is the NextEV NIO EP9?
This Chinese warrior comes with four separate motors, one for each wheel, so that 1384bhp gets shared out with a four-wheel-drive system. If the horsepower sounds nuts, it’s got nothing on the torque. This machine has a simply batshit crazy 4671lb/ft of torque. That’s so much that each motor comes with its own gearbox to keep it under control.
The end result is a car that hits 60mph in less than 2.7s, 125mph in 7.4s and a top speed that actually sounds pretty conservative for this level of power: 194mph. The range is pretty good, though, the car will do 245 miles on a charge and you can swap out the battery packs and get going in under eight minutes,or charge them up in 45 minutes.
Petrol is on its last legs
It’s a clear warning sign that petrol-powered cars’ days are numbered and it’s nothing to do with an oil shortage. Electric cars are simply beating them. Electric cars used to be shitty little golf carts with number plates, but the times are changing. Even the range topping LaFerrari and McLaren P1 are hybrids now, but this is just a transitional phase.
Batteries and electric motors are getting better. The Tesla P100D is like a glimpse into the future and it might just be the best all-round car on the road right now. The Rimac Concept One has Bugatti-baiting pace and this latest offering from China is like another knee to the gut of the old-school manufacturers and you better believe that the next generation of sportscars will be powered by batteries.
The battery packs are too heavy right now, but they will come down in weight and increase in power, just like we’ve seen with mobile phones over the years. Soon, there simply won’t be an option. If you want a fast car, it will have to be electric.
This car also drives itself, seriously
The NextEV NIO EP9 isn’t just fast and electric, it can also drive itself. Before heading to the Nordschleife, the company went to the Circuit of the Americas and set an autonomous lap record, with the driverless car hitting speeds of up to 160mph and taking the bends without smashing into the nearest wall. It’s crazy tech, and that will trickle down to every car on the road within the next few years. Tesla has Autopilot right now, but this system looks next level.
The term ‘production car’ is a little optimistic, though. NextEV has made seven of them, or so it says, but the first investors in the company wanted them all. Now, on the back of this epic feat, the company will make 10 more, with a $1.2 million price tag. But they’re sold out already.
So if you’ve got $1.2 million burning a hole in your pocket and you really want to buy a car with it, you should probably speak to Koenigsegg instead.
For now, though, let’s just celebrate some of the trickest tech on the road and an almighty achievement by some clever engineers from China.
All pictures courtesy of NIO EP9