On last year’s Boxing Day, China automaker Great Wall Motors’ electric vehicle subsidiary, Ora, revealed a new electric car that could plunge China’s EV market into a price war. The said car, called 2019 Ora R1, is very competitively priced at 59,800-77,800 yuan (which works out to be around US$8,705-11,326), making it the world’s cheapest electric car. From the product website, it is clear as day that Ora has its sight set on the urban youth with the R1.
Needless to say, being this cheap, Ora R1 is a basic vehicle. In other words, premium finishes are not in the menu. While so, Great Wall Motors stressed that Ora R1’s surpasses the specifications of its class. Wait. Are there many sub-compact EVs in China? Hmmm. Or is Ora just setting an impossible benchmark? Anyways, the four-seater Ora R1 is available in 6 models, with the range-toppers capable of making 351 kilometers (194 miles) on a single charge.
It also boasts a chassis that is composed of 60 percent high strength steel and over 400 safety features, including a quick 60 millisecond automatic power off (presumably, for charging). Ora R1 is built on China’s exclusive EV platform, known as ME platform. There’s a lot of big talk here, including how Ora R1 is here to rewrite the rules of EV and also changing the notion of how consumers’ perspective on EV. Well, it certainly have change my perception about EV being ridiculously expensive, but the reliability remains to be seen.
In addition, Ora R1 touts to have a long wheel base of 2,475 mm (8.12 feet) out of the tiny overall car length of 3,495 mm (11.47 feet). Powering the car is a permanent magnet synchronous motor rated at a modest 35 kW (about 47 HP) and produces 125 Nm (92.2 lb-ft) and kept juiced by a 30.7-33 kWh battery system, depending on the model. It has fast charging that gets up to 80 percent charge in 40 minutes while standard charging takes it from 0-100 in 5-10 hours.
Other notables include Cloud connectivity, app-enabled, infotainment, airbags, whiplash protection, ESP, ABS+EPB, and frontal crash absorption. 2019 Ora R1 Electric Car is being offered in China in a choice of five colors: titanium white, cadet blue, sky blue, titanium white and glitter black, and cadet blue and titanium white. Straight choice of colors, if I may add. Since it is marketed at urban youth, I would have expected more cheerful hues. Just saying…