NIO ET5 to Use Die-Casting Like Tesla; Pre-Orders Set Record

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker NIO on Saturday unveiled the sleek-looking ET5, a mid-sized smart electric sedan to rival the Tesla Model 3. According to CnEVPost, NIO is using a new integrated die-casting process for the rear body of the ET5.

“We are using an integrated die-casting process for the rear subframe of the ET5,” NIO founder, chairman and CEO William Li told the publication in an interview.

Image: NIO

According to the ET5’s technical specifications, NIO is using an integrated hollow cast-aluminum process to build the EV’s rear subframe.

NIO’s integrated die-casting process looks pretty similar to what Tesla does with single-piece rear castings for the Model Y.

According to NIO, the new casting process offers a guaranteed increase in rear body strength from 31 kNm/deg to 34 kNm/deg over the previous all-steel welded process while reducing the total weight by 13 kg and allowing for an additional 11 litres of trunk space.

As proven by Tesla’s single-piece rear castings, larger die-casting processes eliminate heat treatment and shorten production cycles. Tesla’s die-casting helped it eliminate 370 parts and also 600 robots for its production line of the Model 3.

Die-casting is also used for the rear piece of the Model Y and soon the front, using massive Giga Press machines from the Idra Group in Italy.

NIO has also adopted an integrated molding aluminum extrusion process to build the door sills of the ET5, adding reinforcement to the EV’s overall design.

In addition, the ET5 is equipped with new four-piston callipers developed in-house by NIO, which also use aluminum alloy one-piece casting technology.

While integrated die-casting is not exactly the same process Tesla uses to create the single-piece rear body for the Model Y, it is certainly similar and, like that process, reduces the total number of parts and production steps involved.

While NIO has not officially confirmed that it will use large die-casting equipment for the production of its EVs, integrated die-casting appears to be a step in that direction.

Separately, Li also announced yesterday that the ET5 has set a new pre-order record for the most pre-orders, also according to CnEVPost; some insiders say the hype is similar to when Tesla’s China-made Model 3 debuted in the country.

First NIO ET5 owners will also get the following benefits:

  • 10-year unlimited mileage warranty.
  • Free battery swap for life, up to 6 times per month.
  • Lifetime free in-car internet connection.
  • Free exclusive home charging pile.
  • Lifetime free roadside assistance.