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Beijing show: Ora EV brand launched
Great Wall Motors Group launches Ora EV brand with three emissions-free models
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27 Apr 2018
By TUNG NGUYEN in BEIJING
GREAT Wall Motors (GWM) Group has launched its dedicated electric-vehicle brand Ora at this week’s Beijing motor show, unveiling three emissions-free models dubbed R1, R2 and IQ that could be exported to international markets.
According to GWM Group vice-president of product planning Sam Chen, a rollout of the tiny R1 and R2 EVs, and larger IQ sedan to international markets – including Australia – is being “considered”, but some marketing hurdles still need to be dealt with.
“With these two product series, we will consider global market application,” he said.
“The question remains, do we leave it as the Ora brand when we take it out overseas? Or do we put it in a brand that makes the most sense? “So that’s still something we’re actually considering right now.”
Of the three vehicles revealed, the IQ has the biggest chance of succeeding Down Under as an all-electric alternative to the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq that could also compete more directly against the second-generation Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3.
Looking like a jacked-up sedan, Mr Chen described the IQ as a “cross” because “it has more functionality than a sedan” and “more practicality”.
The IQ’s overall aesthetics are kept simple, with the front end sporting a horizontal design theme thanks to headlights that are joined by the front grille and a stacked front bumper with slats running the width of the car.
Black-plastic cladding surrounds the wheelarches and lower body to denote its increased ride height, while a large glasshouse enables good visibility all round.
Inside, the IQ sports a simple black and white-coloured cabin with a floating central infotainment screen, Prius-like shifter, hidden air-vents and leather steering wheel.
In contrast to the IQ that is aimed at families, the R1 and R2 are designed for inner city commuting and share the same Mini Electric (ME) platform.
ME platform vehicles use high-strength steel materials in construction to help reduce the impact to the chassis and battery pack in the event of a collision, while also providing increased safety to passengers.
Styled similarly to the upcoming Honda Urban EV, the R1 features a boxy two-tone body with a flat front end, round headlights and square tail-lights.
Meanwhile, the R2 sports curvier edges, suicide doors, sleek headlights and a slim glasshouse.
To make the most room in both tiny hatchbacks, Ora has extended the wheelbase to the absolute edges, allowing the R1 and R2 to offer optimised interior space.
Cutting-edge technologies are also featured on Ora vehicles, including a mobile phone key that can be shared among friends and family, voice commands for the infotainment and air-conditioning systems and Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities.
While details including powertrain information, battery capacity and driving range were kept under wraps, an Ora spokesperson said the new brand’s mission statement was to keep things simple for consumers.
“It is designed to provide consumers with easy and low-cost maintenance service, uncompromised product quality and provisions for upgrades in electrification and intelligent application,” he said.
The Ora EV brand will sit alongside the Wey premium marque, Haval SUV make and Great Wall light-commercial vehicles in the GWM Group.
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