You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

This car hit 160 mph — and left its driver behind


A sleek, futuristic sports car toured Circuit of the Americas last week, reaching a top speed of 160 miles per hour.

Nothing unusual about that, right?

Not until you consider: The car had no driver.

The NIO EP9 set a world speed record, according to motorsports outlets, for autonomous electric cars, completing a lap of the 3.4-mile road circuit in southeast Travis Country in 2 minutes, 40.33 seconds. The same electric supercar, developed by NIO U.S. headquarters in Silicon Valley, also broke the production car lap record with a driver behind the wheel, covering the circuit in 2:11.30 and touching 170 mph.

So, yes, a skilled driver can still go faster than a car with no driver at all.

NIO, which released a video of the driverless car’s COTA lap, will hold a U.S. launch event for the $1 million car during South By Southwest at the Coppertank Event Center from March 10-12. The company hopes to drastically drop the price once the cars are mass-produced.

“At NIO, we are all about raising the bar for the entire automotive industry, and breaking records with the NIO EP9 demonstrates our expertise in the field,” Padmasree Warrior, CEO of NIO, said in a statement. “We achieved this remarkable result in an incredibly short time.

“Our goal is to be the best next-generation car company for autonomous vehicles. We look forward to sharing our vision in Austin at SXSW.”

Warrior, a native of India who’s called “Queen of the Electric Car Biz” by Fortune magazine, will deliver a keynote address at SXSW on March 11 at the JW Marriott.

NIO, created by the Chinese electric car startup NextEV, produced the vehicle in a mere four months.

The EP9’s efforts at COTA eclipsed previous marks for electric cars at Nurburgring in Germany and Circuit Paul Ricard in France, according to various motorsports publications. During its record-setting laps, the EP9 was the only car on the COTA track.

“We’re honored to be a part of NIO’s lap record. It is pretty amazing to consider,” said Katja Heim, COTA’s COO. “We all know autonomous vehicles are part of the future, and this is further proof of progress.”

For comparison’s sake, the Austin track record is 1 minute, 39.347 seconds for a Formula One car — that’s an average of 124.2 mph —1:47.412 for a WEC sports car and 2:02.135 in MotoGP.

The EP9 accelerates from zero to 124 mph in 7.1 seconds, according to NIO, and has an interchangeable battery system. It is designed to be fully charged in 45 minutes and have a range of 265 miles.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Golden’s Nuggets: Spieth’s clutch gene is back, but is it back for good?
Golden’s Nuggets: Spieth’s clutch gene is back, but is it back for good?

Basketball players can relate to what Jordan Spieth was going through in his final round Sunday. He just needed to see the ball go in the hoop to get back on track. Throughout the back nine of the Travelers Championship it was evident that he’s still working to rediscover the mojo on his putter, but is still money from the bunker. Before he holed...
Texas still searching for 2018 options along the defensive line
Texas still searching for 2018 options along the defensive line

Five of Texas’ 11 commitments for the 2018 class play defense. Byron Hobbs and Ayodele Adeoye are linebackers while B.J. Foster, Caden Sterns and DeMarvion Overshown highlight the safety position. The Longhorns are expected to sign around 20 to 22 players, depending on continued attrition. That means Texas is halfway done. The five defensive...
Philadelphia Phillies’ rebuild is a slow process
Philadelphia Phillies’ rebuild is a slow process

On Thursday, for the second year in a row, the Philadelphia 76ers chose first overall in the NBA draft. Their fans have endured years of failure but seem convinced that the team’s highly promoted Process — capital P — will work. The 76ers have set a franchise record for season-ticket sales, and they expect to sell out all their games...
Red Auerbach told Bill Russell, ‘I’m the coach, and you’ll fit’
Red Auerbach told Bill Russell, ‘I’m the coach, and you’ll fit’

There are decorated athletes, and then there is Bill Russell. As the dominant man in the middle for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969, Russell was a 12-time All-Star selection. He won 11 NBA championships, the last two as the team’s player-coach. He was the first player to win an Olympic gold medal and an NBA championship and a college title...
Ex-FSU star Myron Rolle ready to begin med school residency
Ex-FSU star Myron Rolle ready to begin med school residency

Myron Rolle has accomplished many things on and off the field. His biggest ones, though, might still be coming up.  Rolle's dream of becoming a doctor came to fruition on May 20 when he graduated from Florida State's College of Medicine. The former All-American safety and Rhodes Scholar has not had much time to reflect on the accomplishment. He...
More Stories