ClearMotion to supply smooth suspension tech for Nio’s ET9 EV

By Nick Carey

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. startup ClearMotion will supply its active suspension technology for Chinese EV maker Nio’s upcoming ET9 in a contract covering 750,000 cars over the lifetime of the luxury sedan model, the two companies said on Saturday.

Nio was due to launch the ET9 on Saturday and the electric vehicle should go into production in late 2024.

ClearMotion founder and chief technology officer Zack Anderson told Reuters that the company’s ClearMotion1 suspension system uses a combination of hardware – a small unit containing a motor and power electronics sits in each wheel well of a vehicle – and software to read the road ahead and cut motion inside the car by “about 75% compared to the best technology in the market today”.

“We take sensor data and we do very high-speed analytics where we predict what’s about to happen in the road before it hits the chassis of the car,” Anderson said.

He said ClearMotion is talking to numerous other automakers, including in Europe and America, adding that the company expects to publicly announce at least one more customer next year.

ClearMotion currently has a factory in China and aims to build more production close to future customers, Anderson said.

“A lot of people get motion sick if they try to work in a car,” he said. “Motion control is really the key to fixing that.”

At first, the technology will be used for luxury vehicles, as automakers want to use it to make their new EVs stand out, Anderson said.

ClearMotion has raised $350 million to date and its key investors include venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, Nio’s venture capital arm NIO Capital, venture capital fund Nextview Ventures and JPMorgan.

“We’re looking at probably another capital raise down the road, but right now we’re pretty well financed,” Anderson said.

(Reporting By Nick Carey; editing by David Evans)