Nio offers few details for China-only ES8 electric SUV

For something reportedly close to production, there's still a whole lot we don't know, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Nio

Nio, the electric vehicle startup formerly known as NextEV, rolled out a new SUV for the Chinese market at the Shanghai Motor Show. But it forgot one important thing -- details.

Nio went to Shanghai to debut the ES8, a seven-seat, three-row crossover with a battery-electric drivetrain. It will be built exclusively for the Chinese market, and Nio claims it will be ready for production later this year.

It actually looks pretty nice. I just wish Nio had some actual information to offer so close to its production debut.

Nio

It's a pretty attractive crossover, with some pronounced wheel arches, slim lighting and that "floating" roof design that achieves its look with black B-, C- and D-pillars. The interior is as 21st century as one would expect, with a digital gauge cluster and a vertical infotainment screen that looks a lot like Volvo's Sensus Connect.

Nio promised that the ES8 has undergone thousands of miles of testing in all sorts of environments, and that the supply chain is already in place for production. It also promises swappable batteries, a trick that even Tesla abandoned after a while, and Tesla is on significantly more solid ground than Nio, which right now only has an electric supercar to its name.

For a car so close to production, you'd think that Nio would be willing to give out more information, especially to whet the appetite of Chinese buyers, which are showing increasing favor for EVs.

But, nope! Not offered a single iota of information that matters. Battery capacity? No. Total range? Nope. Location and expected availability of battery swaps? Nyet. Horsepower, even? Nein. And the "no" answers just keep on comin', the more questions we come up with. That's not going to inspire confidence in the Chinese market, unless those buyers operate on hype alone.

Nio showed off a concept at SXSW this year, but since it was a concept, not having detailed information is fine. The only specs we know come from Nio's EP9, a supercar that costs $1.48 million. Nio's going to have to start rolling out something more concrete if it wants to be taken more seriously.

Both the infotainment screen and the controls just beneath it are awfully similar to Volvo's Sensus Connect system.

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