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Future models - Haval - H7 - PHEV

Haval gets set to plug in by 2017

Plug plan: Haval's new H7 mid-sized SUV is set to get a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a 58km electric range.

China's Haval plans rapid 263kW plug-in hybrid H7 – for Australia too

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Haval logo26 Apr 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

CHINESE SUV specialist Haval is planning to introduce a mid-sized plug-in hybrid SUV to Australia by 2017, within two years of Haval's planned entry to the local market with its range of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from June this year.

The company says its primary focus is on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) for future fuel-saving vehicles, but it is also working on full-electric vehicles at its spanking new research, development and design centre in a $A1.2 billion development at its home city of Baoding, south-west of Beijing.

The giveaway for EVs is a display in China of prototype carbon-fibre reinforced plastic battery casings at a display of Haval's latest technologies. The items include a large battery case, suitable for under-floor mounting in an all-electric vehicle.

The plug-in hybrid – potentially a competitor for Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV – has already been publicly announced in China. It is expected to make its Haval debut in the H7 that has just been launched on the domestic market in its 2.0-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder petrol form.

The H7 is likely to be the first electrified vehicle from Haval in a country that is rushing towards plug-in power as major cities such as Beijing restrict fossil-fuel vehicles.

Although Haval is owned by China's biggest independent motor company, Great Wall Motors, Haval has its own engineering, research and vehicle development centre where it focuses on its range of new-generation SUVs being developed by a design team led by former BMW designer Pierre Leclercq – best known for penning the X5 and X6 range – and an international engineering squadron.

Haval's AWD plug-in powertrain has two electric motors, with one driving the rear axle and the other linked with a 165kW turbo-charged 2.0-litre petrol engine on the front axle.

Instead of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as used by some other PHEV manufacturers, Haval employs a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission on the front axle system.

The so-called Intelligent 4WD Hybrid Module develops impressive maximum power of 263kW and is claimed to have an all-electric range of 58km from its 12.8kW lithium-ion battery.

Haval Australia – the newly created, factory-owned distributor for Haval's all-SUV range – says it is interested in the H7, and especially the PHEV version that would give it a point of difference from the similar-sized H8 and full-sized H9.

However, such decisions are yet to be confirmed by the company which so far has locked in four models, ranging from the compact H2 and full-sized H9 at launch, the recently facelifted H8 in July and the sporty H6 Coupe in about December or January.

Haval showed a production version of the H7 at the Shanghai show where the H6 Coupe also made its debut as a fully fledged member of the Haval team.

On a tour of Haval's factory, GoAuto spotted several pre-production H6 Coupes going down the production line. Later, we were able to sample one at the company's nearby proving ground.

A camouflaged vehicle that looked suspiciously like an H7 development mule was also in evidence at the proving ground.

Apart from new models and electrified powertains, Haval is also working on petrol powertrains, including a twin-turbo in-line petrol six cylinder for its big four-wheel drives such as the H8 and H9.

Good for 240kW of power and 480Nm of torque, the engine will be mated with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, and in the case of the H9, a transfer case with high and low ratios with several traction modes.

The engine is expected to land in Australia in the two biggest Haval models, the H8 and H9.

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