Technologically competitive, cheaper, truly ambitious… Chinese electric cars are coming. Chinese manufacturers have been worrying the industry for years, they are suddenly here. We have selected six cars that will mark the French market.
Chinese automakers have long planned to invade the European market. It is now done, you will see more and more Chinese cars on French roads. After the entire auto industry has been whispering with concern for years that the Chinese are coming, suddenly they are here. We have made a selection of cars that we believe will mark the French market.
Ora Funky Cat
The Ora Funky Cat, from the Great Wall group, which we came across in Norway, is a 100% electric city car that adopts a retro design with soft lines on the outside and two large googly eyes with matrix LED technology as headlights. It is a very serious alternative to the Peugeot e-208, the Renault Zoé or even the future MG4.
Two versions will be offered, a small battery with a capacity of 49 kWh, which should allow 300 kilometers according to the WLTP standard. The large battery stores 63 kWh for 400 kilometers. The more powerful of the two electric motors with 126 kW (171 hp) will make it possible to do a 0 to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds. As for the small engine, it has a power of 105 kW (143 hp).
The little extra of the Funky Cat is its on-board system. The software part is, in fact, remarkably fluid and the design very convincing and hyper-coloured. There is a 10.25-inch screen for the instrument cluster as well as a second screen of similar size (and fully touch-sensitive) for infotainment, in the middle of the dashboard.
The big unknown remains the price and availability in France. In the United Kingdom, the Ora Funky Cat will be available at the end of the year at a price of 30,495 pounds, or around 36,000 euros.
In March 2022, Xpeng (Xiaopeng Motors) opened its first orders for its P5 sedan in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. It will have a very short lifespan, XPeng is finally counting on the P7 to break into Europe.
The new XPeng P7 is a Chinese sedan designed to attract customers interested in the Tesla Model 3. Although the P7 is, in reality, halfway between the Model 3 and the Model S. But considering the prices, it is an adversary for the Model 3.
The P7 is based on XPeng’s B platform, codenamed ‘Edward’, which was co-developed and designed under contract with Porsche. It has (almost) nothing to envy Tesla, whether its performance (655 Nm torque and 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds) or its autonomy (up to 530 km in the WLTP combined cycle) , or its charging speed (up to 100 kW).
The Xpeng P7 also has its own OS, with OTA updates, as well as driving assistance modes, in order to allow, when possible, level 3 autonomous driving.
For its arrival in Europe, its price is 42,500 euros in Norway. We can already see it in the showrooms of Oslo, Maxime Fontanier was able to try it. In France, you will certainly have to pay a little more… Since Norway does not charge any tax on electric cars.
MG is already very present in France, and the latest announcement is the MG4. The MG 4 (MG MG4) has opened its order book, it is the very first model in the range to be based on the new MSP (Modular Scalable Platform) platform developed by SAIC.
The Chinese compact starts with a 51 kWh battery, allowing it to travel 350 km according to the WLTP cycle, according to the manufacturer, while the power is displayed at 170 horsepower. A 2ᵉ version will also be offered, with a 65 kWh battery offering a range of 450 km for a power of 204 horsepower. It then rivals the 220 version of the Mégane E-Tech, with its 60 kWh battery.
Later, other versions equipped with four-wheel drive will also see the light of day. For now, the most efficient variant achieves 0 to 100 km/h in less than 8 seconds, for a maximum speed limited to 160 km/h.
MG has announced that the MG4 will be sold at 30,000 euros in its entry-level version. A more than attractive price, which does not take into account the ecological bonus of 6,000 euros still in force until the end of the year before going to 5,000 euros next year. By way of comparison, the MG 4 will then cost at least 5,000 euros less than the Renault Mégane E-Tech, displayed from 35,200 euros in its 130 horsepower version and with a 40 kWh battery.
Note that the MSP is compatible with battery exchange, as Nio already offers in China and Norway. The brand does not specify if the MG will be equipped with this function, but we know thatit will be equipped with semi-autonomous driving via the MG Pilot system. The compact will also be compatible with remote OTA updates.
Same approach as many new car manufacturers, Nio has decided to land in Norway to market the ET7 sedan and the ES8 SUV. Note that Nio is often talked about. The Chinese brand offers the exchange of batteries in a few minutes in dedicated stations. The one that stood out to us is the ET7.
The ET7 is in a way the standard bearer of the brand in Europe, since it is a large electric sedan which is positioned as a rival of the famous Tesla Model S.
The car has several batteries, one between 70 and 75kWh with an autonomy of 500-550kma second of 100kWh with an autonomy of 700 kilometersand finally a semi-solid battery of 150 kWh allowing the car to claim approximately 1000 kilometers range on Chinese CLTC cycle with a single charge.
The car is equipped with two electric motors developing a combined power of 480kW (about 653 hp) and a maximum torque of 850Nm. The front one is a permanent magnet motor, while the rear motor is induction. These two engines make it possible to obtain a 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds.
For the moment, the prices in Germany have not yet been revealed, but Nio is targeting premium, namely Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW. The brand ensures that the price will be substantially equivalent to that of a Tesla Model 3 Performance today, that is to say around 65,000 euros. After Germany, the manufacturer will seek to launch in the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, three countries where electric cars and infrastructure are much more democratized than in France.
Finally, let’s finish with the category that sells best in France: an SUV. This is not the Aiways U5, which is already available, but the U6. It is an SUV with a coupe profile, with a 160 kW front engine, and three battery capacities: 63, 72 and 88 kWh. With estimated autonomy, in the CLTC cycle, between 450 and 600 km (WLTP).
It is still too early to know the prices of the U6. These should however remain quite close to those of the U5, which stand at 39,990 euros and 44,990 euros excluding eco bonus.
Then there is BYD (“Build your Dreams”), currently the largest electric car manufacturer in the world. It could start with the recently unveiled BYD Seal, an electric car in the format of the Tesla Model 3 and with a range of around 500 kilometers.
It is an electric sedan which obviously aims to compete head-on with the Tesla Model 3, which currently remains the best-selling trendy model in Europe.
In total, no less than three versions will be offered within the range for this BYD Seal. The least efficient version will then display a power of 204 horsepower from its single engine, while the variant capping the catalog will combine two electric motors. Between the two, an intermediate version of 313 horsepower will be offered, only in propulsion.
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