Not that many have attempted it...

Startup EV maker Nio is touting its 1,341 horsepower (1,000 kilowatt) EP9 electric hypercar as the world’s fastest autonomous car around the Circuit of the Americas after lapping the 3.4-mile course in 2 minutes 40.33 seconds and achieving a top speed of 160 miles per hour. However, there’s no evidence of COTA being a particular hotbed of driverless vehicle testing, so there’s not another officially timed lap to compare the Nio against.

The China-based company also put a driver in the EP9’s seat and managed a time of 2 minutes 11.30 seconds, which it claims is a record for production vehicles. The car achieved a top speed of 170 mph. For reference, the pole sitting GT-class car in the 2016 Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas was an Aston Martin Vantage V8 race car with a 2-minute 4.61-second lap.

Nio EP9

The EP9 produces its massive output through four electric motors. Nio claims the hypercar can sprint to 62 mph in 2.7 seconds and 124 mph in 7.1 seconds. The coupe can allegedly reach 195 mph. The batteries provide a 265-mile range from a charge.

Nio is currently preparing to stage the EP9’s American debut at the Coppertank Event Center in nearby Austin, Texas, from March 10th-12th. The company isn’t yet announcing when EP9 deliveries begin or saying how much the hypercar costs. However, earlier speculation put the price at $1 million or more, which seems likely for a model with this level of performance.

Nio EP9

Nio can add the new fast laps to its successes in Europe last year. In November, the firm announced setting an electric vehicle record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife by getting around the famous course in 7 minutes 5.12 seconds. The EP9 also set a new benchmark at the Circuit Paul Ricard by lapping the circuit in 1 minute 52.78 seconds.

Putting autonomous vehicles on the track is still rare event, and until there are multiple lap times on the same course, it's hard to compare them. We'd be interested to see how a vehicle like the upcoming Roborace RoboCar or Audi's experimental driverless track machines compare to the EP9 around COTA.

Source: Nio

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