Quicker than a Porsche 918 around the 'Ring, we grab the keys to the NIO EP9, the world's first all-electric supercar
Zero to 200km/h in 7.1 seconds and not a spark plug in sight, meet the Nio EP9 electric hypercar
THIS ISN'T your average supercar, but just like NIO's petrol-powered opposition, the EP9 is all about numbers. More specifically, Nurburgring Nordschleife lap records, of which this Chinese-built vision of the future has just slashed its own best by 19.2sec. The new electric 'Ring marker now stands at 6:45.9sec. Two days after the impressive feat, the very same car arrived at the Bedford Autodrome where we had all morning for an exclusive first drive in the world's fastest – and quietest – corner carver.
However, for this tale, we actually need to flashback to the press day of the Shanghai motor show. The EP9, built for chief William Li and only one of seven completed cars, sits before a small group of experts. Engineers and enthusiasts are forming a circle around the dark-blue vehicle, the exact example that completed the Green Hell feat only days earlier at the hands of Peter Dumbrek (of Le Mans and DTM fame). The lap makes for downright frightening video taken from the on-board cameras. And now it's my turn to get behind the wheel.
The seat fitting awaits, and it doesn't go well. If this carbon-fibre garment was a suit, the buttons would have popped off. The seat turns out to be a naked, non-adjustable carbon-fibre bucket. Where there once was cushion it is now the same slippery protection foil used on the sills and down in the footwell. The meat in this hard-baked composite sandwich is yours truly, a 6'8” scribe – and that's before putting on a helmet and securing the HANS (head and neck support) device. The pedal box is already hard up against the bulkhead with no room to budge. I can't help but think this is going to be, ahem, fun for future me.
Back at the Bedford Autodrome I've thankfully been able to contort into the EP9's Sparco straps, however, to start I'm a passenger. As it turns out, the diminutive, happy-go-lucky driver is a seasoned former racer. Ahead of me is a full-width rectangular
For a pure electric vehicle, the NIO EP9 is simply mind bending