The ET Preview’s production version will have a 150 kWh battery pack and a 559-mile range.

Nio already told us it would host the Nio Day on 9 January. It also said it would unveil its first saloon there, which will also be its flagship model. We suspected that it would be based on the ET Preview concept presented at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show and patent images just confirmed that, but that is far from all the surprises that came from the Chinese media.

XCar said the new electric saloon would be called ET7, which gives us the idea that Nio’s saloons will have odd numbers (7, 5, and eventually 3) while the SUVs will retain the even numbers (8 and 6, so far).

Nio's Contender Against The Tesla Model S Appears In Patent Images

Although its massive 150 kWh swappable battery pack is something Nio had already disclosed, we had no idea how far it could take the ET7. Our first estimates were of about 800 km (497 miles), but saloons have a much better drag coefficient compared to SUVs – which will certainly make the ET7 a more efficient machine. 

If the Chinese media is correct, the new Nio flagship saloon will be able to run 900 km (559 miles) with a complete charge under the NEDC cycle. Considering the ET7 also has swappable batteries, that implies it could run 4,500 km or even more without wasting more than 30 minutes in getting juice. If there were a Cannonball Run EV that can shatter all records, we’d bet on this one.

Nio's Contender Against The Tesla Model S Appears In Patent Images

When you check the car interior, you can see a massive digital screen going from the driver to the passenger side. With conventional rear-view mirrors, that implies this screen will not show images from side cameras to replace them or that it is prepared to add them in markets where they are legal.

Another surprise the electric saloon may hold is the use of LIDAR, according to XCar. The Chinese website would have seen it through the images, but it may also have obtained that information from company sources. If that is correct, Nio will beat Xpeng in adopting these sensors.

With such a massive battery pack, weight may be a concern for the vehicle, but PCAuto said Nio would probably be the first company to adopt a carbon fibre case for the battery pack. It will also present a new platform and a second-generation battery-swapping station. For the sake of older vehicles, it would better be compatible with the current ones.

We’ll confirm all this on 9 January. Still, it is not an exaggeration to say that half of these promises will be enough for the Nio ET7 to challenge not only the Tesla Model S but also the upcoming Lucid Air and its estimated 517-mile EPA range. 

Sources: XCar and PCAuto 

Gallery: Nio's Contender Against The Tesla Model S Appears In Patent Images