Secret electric cars spotted testing out Mildura’s baking heat
January 25, 20193  Bridie Schmidt

[images  /  Twitter/David Cao
 / Byton

David Cao @DavidCaoEV
Camouflaged EV doing warm weather testing in Mildura. The Byton M-Byte
maybe? @bobbyllew @Carpervert @TheDriven_io @EVCouncil @AEVA_National
NIO @NIOGlobal
NIO #ES8 testing in Mildura, Australia “Wings of Summer” video (animated
.gif) now available to view on our Facebook page. We have nearly completed
the 3 million kms ES8 road test. #BlueSkyComing

As Mildura faces what is expected to be its hottest day on record, two
mystery electric cars have been spotted in camouflage in a carpark of the
Victorian town.

Covered in a wrap of concentric circles to the identities of the electric
cars, Twitterer David Cao (who spotted the vehicles) posted the photos on
the social media channel last night.

“Camouflaged EV doing warm weather testing in Mildura. The Byton M-Byte
maybe?” he wrote.

Byton is a Chinese auto startup that last year raised a sizeable chunk of
money in a bid to secure a piece of the huge Chinese EV market.

It’s first concept EV, the M-Byte, was unveiled at CES2018 in Los Angeles –
but it’s not the mystery EV spotted in Mildura.

While at first glance it appears to have a somewhat similar configuration on
the nose – the triangular indicator lights, for example ...

However on closer inspection, the headlights on the mystery EVs are more
tapered, and the profile more prominent than that of the M-Byte.

In fact, it appears the mystery vehicles are most likely to be from another
Chinese automaker – the recently launched Nio ES6 with 510km range (NEDC).

While some on Twitter have conjectured that the mystery vehicles are Nio’s
other all-electric SUV, the ES8 which Nio says it will commence deliveries
for in March 2019, we here at The Driven suspect it is in fact the ES6.

Compare the side profile of the mystery vehicles, on which the front of the
bonnet overhangs the “grille” –  the nose of the ES8 is relatively modest
whereas on the ES6 it is more pronounced.

Chinese startup Nio, whose Chinese name Weilai means Blue Sky Coming, came
to our attention last year when Tesla’s main external shareholder, Baillie
Gifford, claimed an 11.4% stake of the startup, causing some to name it
China’s answer to Tesla.

Nio launched the all-electric ES6 SUV In December 2018 for the Chinese
market with a starting price of 358,000 RMB ($A72,000).

Why is the vehicle in Mildura?

As Cao suggests, it may well be there for warm weather testing of the EV’s

Indeed, while the searing temperatures being experienced by the town today
present some very real dangers for residents, the irony of climate-change
induced conditions being a perfect foil for testing the EV battery is not
lost on us here at The Driven.

But the question that is also raised is whether it is possible that Nio are
considering the ES6 for the Australian market?

Many areas of China do experience extreme heat in summer, but being winter
there at the moment it is possible that it is simply because Australia
present the closest extreme heat conditions for this time of year.

Update: It’s now been confirmed that Nio is indeed testing its electric
cars, and (despite our conclusion that the model pictured is an ES6) that in
fact 8 ES8s along with 30 of Nio’s engineers have been welcomed by Mildura

Councillor Glenn Milne posted images of himself with the ES8 online, saying,
“Checked out the NIO electric cars that are testing air conditioning in
Mildura for a couple of months. Mildura has been hosting around 30 engineers
from China as well as 7 or 8 vehicles. Pity we don’t have a race track to do
some testing on.”

And it’s not the first time! Check out the video of the ES8 being taken
through its paces out in the Mildura heat in March 2018 ...

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