Tata Motors’ Chinese partner Chery unveils its first dedicated electric SUV [Update]

Update – Reports on the Chinese web point to a mid-year launch for the Chery eQ5 (May or June) electric crossover in the local market. Chery is likely to export the eQ5 (and the vehicles coming off this specialized EV platform) to take on rivals from Asia and Europe in the global marketplace. The company has not given details of the range, but given the car’s lighter weight and purpose-built frame, it is expected to be very competitive.

Chery eQ5 production model electric SUV front
The Chery eQ5 measures 4630/1910/1655 mm, and the wheelbase is 2805 mm. It comes in two outputs – 120 kW and 130 kW. More details including range and final prices are expected in the coming weeks.

Tata Motors’ Chinese joint venture partner Chery Auto (that manufactures Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles for the local market since 2014) unveiled its first dedicated pure electric SUV code-named Chery S61, which will be called the Chery eQ5 as per information published on the Chinese government website. The Chery eQ5 is based on the brand’s new aluminium-intensive electric platform, adopts a new exterior design language and is scheduled to be launched in the Chinese market later this year. The first units of the Chery S61 came down the production lines in December at the Wuhu plant.

Chery S61 electric car SUV front
Chery eQ5’s new design language is drastically different and is expected to be adopted by all its pure EV models. Chinese media is reporting that Mahindra-owned Pininfarina helped design it.

The Chery eQ5’s new design language is drastically different from the brand’s other models and is expected to be adopted by all pure EV models in the future. At the front, the eQ5 EV sports a split headlamp design with LED strips above and projector lamps below. Then there’s the fake grille element not requisite of an electric vehicle. A horizontal chrome strip runs the width of the car. At the rear, a LED strip runs across the width with stylish split design tail lamps adorning the corners. The wheelbase of the eQ5 stands at 2805 mm, making for a spacious cabin.

Chery eQ5 electric car SUV rear
The Chery eQ5 sits on a new aluminium-magnesium alloy platform that is 40% lighter than a conventional car’s. Chery’s current electric SUVs (based on conventional fuel platforms) are the Tiggo 3xe and Tiggo e.

The interior of the Chery eQ5 gets a radical design with a combination of tech and finesse. With an all-digital instrument cluster and central infotainment, faux wood and leather trims are used all through the cabin. Some of the features here include AI voice recognition system, multi-screen interaction, and air purification. The new car will also have face recognition, Zhiyun Butler 2.0, smart bracelet, OTA, ADAS+ (assisted driving) and 5G-V2X. The Chery eQ5 is expected to be priced starting at around RMB 200,000 (INR 20.48 lakh) competing with the Weltmeister EX6 Plus and the NIO ES6. Recall that Tata Technologies assisted Nio in its product development through collaborative engineering, another Indian connection.

Chery eQ5 electric car SUV side
The eQ5 will be unveiled within a few weeks (when its name will be revealed) and go on sale in China in the first half of the year for a price of about RMB 200,000 (INR 20.48 lakh).

Chery has already revealed that it has big plans with its LFS high-strength aluminum-magnesium alloy smart vehicle platform that underpins the eQ5. 93% of the body frame uses aluminum-magnesium alloy, and the frame weighs only 94.4 kg or 40% less than the weight of the structure of conventional vehicles. The EV platform will reportedly spawn three electric models beginning with “S” by 2020 that will include S81 EV, S61 EV and S57 EV.

Chery eQ5 electric SUV for India?

The Indian media last year reported that Tata Motors was in talks with two Chinese car manufacturers for sharing its resources in India and facilitating their entry into the market, with Chery speculated as a party. Reports have also spoken about Tata Motors utilizing one of Chery’s Tiggo SUVs to quickly plug the white space between the Nexon and the Harrier, as an alternative to developing its own. The entry of Chery in India is undefined, but when they make the move, the LFS platform would leave them with plenty of choices for fielding electric cars to fight Tata Motors and Mahindra.

Chery eQ5 electric car SUV interior
The eQ5 comes with features like a smart bracelet, OTA, ADAS + assisted driving, and 5G-V2X. It is expected to have a NEDC range of 500 km.

Back home Tata Motors has launched the pure electric Tata Nexon for a starting price of INR 13.99 lakh. The Nexon EV gets a 30.2 kWh lithium-ion battery paired to a 129 PS permanent-magnet AC motor. It produces 245 Nm of instant torque and can accelerate the SUV from 0 to 100 kmph in just 9.9 seconds. The Nexon EV has a range of 312 km (ARAI) and with a fast DC charger, the battery can be charged to 80% in just 60 minutes.

[Source – Autohome.com.cn]

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