NIO ET9 sedan features 900V architecture, upgradable chassis

Three days before NIO pulls the sheet of its highly anticipated executive flagship ET9 sedan, some of the Chinese automaker’s higher-ups have shared some juicy details pertaining to the EV’s architecture and upgradability. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Things are heating up as we approach NIO Day 2023 this weekend, which is already promising the debut of a new top-tier model called the ET9. When the date for NIO’s annual tech day event was locked in, the Chinese EV automaker was already teasing a new model debut, leaving us to speculate it could be the ET9.

Earlier this week, NIO founder and chair William Li confirmed the ET9’s debut, stating it will arrive as an executive flagship sedan to compete against Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Maybach in the luxury EV segment.

While we’ve gotten confirmation of the new sedan’s coming out party, the rest of its details have remained shrouded in mystery… at least until today.

The ET7, NIO’s top tier sedan before the ET9 debuts / Source: NIO

NIO’s ET9 will sit atop an industry-leading 900V platform

As reported by CnEVPost this morning, two executives at NIO have confirmed the upcoming ET9 sedan is built upon 900-volt architecture, allowing for faster charge speeds. Better yet, the platform will “break the industry’s upper limit,” according to NIO’s assistant vice president of electric drive and high-voltage system, Bi Lu, on his personal Weibo account:

On the upcoming flagship model ET9, we adopt a ’900V’ high-voltage architecture that breaks the industry upper limit, which means that on the premise of further reducing the weight of the high-voltage wiring harness in the car, we can achieve the ultimate experience of faster charging performance for the entire vehicle. Combined with NIO’s unique ultra-fast power replacement system, it creates the best solution for comprehensive energy replenishment experience. At the same time, on the new intelligent electric drive platform, in order to meet the higher requirements for flagship models in terms of space and comfort, we have further reduced the weight and volume of the motor, and adopted a number of ‘black technologies’ in product design to achieve higher power density.

The NIO ET9’s 900V architecture requires less high-voltage wiring and, thus, less overall vehicle weight while increasing the rate of charge the upcoming sedan can receive. The platform also enables smaller and lighter electric motors, offering higher power density in a smaller footprint.

Currently, a majority of EVs operate in architecture between 230V-450V, generally referred to as “400V technology.” Since then, we’ve seen premium models like the Porsche Taycan deliver platforms between 550V-900V, generally termed “800V architecture.” In recent years, we’ve seen certain OEMS, like Hyundai Motor Group, for example, offer more affordable 800V EVs on its proprietary E-GMP platform.

In addition to the new high-voltage platform, the NIO team also said the new sedan will feature a wire-controlled chassis, enabling easier upgradability over time. Furthermore, NIO’s vice president of battery systems followed Lu’s Weibo post with one of his own, outlining some of the battery technology we can expect to see on the 900V platform.

When the NIO ET9 debuts in a few days, it appears we will see some potentially industry-leading platform technology. We will report back after the NIO day event and debut of the ET9 on December 23.

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