The EP9 is a Bolt from the Red

This is the EP9 from NIO and its parent company NextEV. It’s Chinese and it’s very, very fast. Before we get into all that here’s a little background on NIO. They’re a relatively young company but already have a Formula E driver’s championship under their belts, so they clearly know their way around a fast electric car. The EP9’s not just for the auto sites; tech bloggers are excited about it too. Hurrah for the cross pollination of interests! The fact of the matter is that as much as we all love thunderously loud cars powered by explosions, they aren’t the future. The future is electric, or something else that we can make or have an abundance of, but it ain’t finite fossil fuels (fingers crossed). NIO, for their part, are getting people interested. People who don’t usually care about cars. Good on ‘em!

To keep weight down the EP9 is made from a lot of carbon fibre. It has a carbon monocoque chassis built to FIA LMP1 standards and full carbon body panels. NIO have promised a range of 265 miles, with a full charge taking just 45 minutes (so they say). The battery packs can be removed out of the sides of the car and changed for fully charged ones in about 8 minutes. The car weighs 3825 lbs, which isn’t light, but it isn’t exactly underpowered either.

The EP9 contains an electric motor for each wheel, which combined produce the equivalent of 1360 horsepower (or one megawatt) and, get this, 4670 ft-lb of torque. That’s the kind of torque that pushes continents around. Seriously though that’s four and a half F350s worth. All that power combined with aero know-how from Formula E means that the EP9 just decimated the EV lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 7:05:12. The previous record for an EV was 7:22:00. So, quite a step forward then. Just six will be built and are they’re all spoken for by NextEV’s founders, but I’m liking where this electric halo car business is going nonetheless.

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The EP9 is a Bolt from the Red

Bugatti Chiron: The Difficult Second Album

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The Chiron is Bugatti’s difficult second album. Think back to the Veyron. People went wild. The world had never seen a production car with 1000 horsepower. It was a marvel of engineering. It was the darling of the motoring press, because nothing like it had come before. It was ‘Armstrong walks on the moon’ wrapped sumptuous Corinthian leather. Fast forward 11 years, and the media hype surrounding the Chiron more often than not features words like ‘status symbol’ and ‘respek generator’. Being clever, rather than building an even bigger sledgehammer, is what matters now. We have the P1, the LaFerrari, and the 918 to thank for that.

Of course, the Chiron is still an astonishing achievement. The words ‘8.0 litre quad-turbocharged W16’ justify most of it. It has 1500 horsepower, 1180 ft/lb of torque, and will hit 62 mph in about 2.5 seconds. Bugatti says it’s got a top speed of 261 mph, but they’ve given it a speedo that goes up to 310 mph/500 kph just in case. Maybe there’ll be a tailwind. It’s a portly beast, weighing in at 4400 lbs, but this was never a car built to handle. It’s a car built to be more powerful than anything else in the history of four wheels, and at that it succeeds easily.

Yes, it’s amazing, and yes, they’ll all sell out immediately. If you’ve got the money to spend and you want the most powerful, most luxurious, and most ostentatious land missile money can buy, I hope you enjoy your Chiron. We could all drive around in sensible cars because they’re reliable, and because it’s a good idea, but people spend more money than they should and risk breakdowns because the rewards of driving a car you love are so great. The Chiron is that times $2.6 million minus the breakdowns. Whether it’ll enjoy the same place as the Veyron in automotive history remains to be seen.

Bugatti Chiron: The Difficult Second Album