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Shanghai show: Great Wall charges up electric Ute

Ute up: The ‘adventure’ version of Great Wall’s new Ute sports a specially designed tailgate that easily fits bike ramps for use on the weekend.

Chinese Ford Ranger rival revealed with new Great Wall Ute, EV version confirmed

4 Apr 2019

GREAT Wall Motor could be the first marque to bring a mainstream electric pick-up to the Australian and New Zealand markets as it readies its all-new Steed-replacing Ute range to be revealed at this month’s Shanghai motor show.

Although just the lifestyle-focused ‘adventure’ version has been shown for now, the Chinese car-maker is also promising an emissions-free version with 500km of driving range, as well as an ‘urban-spec’ grade to bolster the pick-up line-up.

Little else is known about the new electric Ute, however, GoAuto understands the pick-up might eschew a plug-in set-up in favour of a hydrogen fuel-cell system, which will likely keep it off the table for local market consumption due to a lack of refuelling infrastructure.

According to overseas reports, Great Wall Motor recently invested one billion yuan ($A2,095,34,913) on research and development for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, with the intention of having a fleet ready for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing.

Speaking to GoAuto, Haval and Great Wall Motors Australia and NZ national marketing manager Bill Soo said the Chinese brand is advancing its efforts to move away from internal-combustion engines as emissions regulations tighten.

“Thinking about what’s on the horizon over the next five to 10 years, and the company takes the view that existing technologies will change dramatically, and as a company, we have to move into hydrogen EV, which is where the company sees interest,” he said.

A hydrogen fuel-cell ute would also make sense given the size and weight of battery packs in all-electric models that are required to reach the 500km distance.

As for other powertrains that could underpin the Great Wall Ute, expect to see turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, likely borrowed from sister brand Haval’s H9 which is currently propelled by a 180kW/350Nm petrol unit and was formally available with a 140kW/440Nm oil-burner.

The Great Wall Ute will also share its underpinnings with the new-generation Haval H9, which is not expected to hit the market until early 2021 and will be built from the same facility in Chongqing.

As previously reported, the platform is expected to be a body-on-frame chassis and arm the Chinese brands with a ute and large SUV seven-seater combo similar to the Toyota HiLux/Fortuner, Mitsubishi Triton/Pajero Sport and Ford Ranger/Everest.

The platform sharing means the Great Wall Ute is also expected to take a huge step up in refinement and safety features, according to Mr Soo.

“It means that the new Ute will pick-up all the safety, comfort and four-wheel-drive capability of the H9,” he said. “Effectively, the Ute is going to be an H9 with a tray on the back.”

Aesthetically, the Ute features what Great Wall is calling a ’tough truck’ design direction with high-set headlights, a large single-bar grille and a jacked-up ride height.

However, the ‘adventure’ version sports more off-road-focused enhancements, including an extended sports bar, a front winch, triple diff locks, a seven-setting All Terrain Control System and 900mm of wading depth.

Expect more details when the Great Wall Ute is publicly revealed on April 16.

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