Update – The Ora R1 is getting a model year update in the Chinese market. As per information coming out of China, it will receive a 45 kW motor (in place of a 35 kW unit) that makes 130 Nm of peak torque (up from 125 Nm). The 33 kWh battery pack is to be upgraded to a 36 kWh unit to give it a travel range of 401 km (NEDC), up from 351 km.
The 2020 Ora R1 will have added personalization options with body colours. The higher range and the new updates are seen as a response from Great Wall Motor to the launch of the funky and spacious Baojun E300 (from SAIC) which had pre-orders open this week.
Great Wall Motor is learned to be mooting the ‘GWM Electric’ brand in place of Ora for markets like India where it intends to launch products in the short-term. There would be EVs from Ora as well as Haval in the future.
13 February 2020 –
Great Wall Motors has unveiled the Ora R1 electric car at the Auto Expo 2020. The Ora R1 is currently a China-only model and the company is trying to learn what the Indian audience makes of the tiny hatch by displaying it at the Expo. Ora is the electric sub-brand of GWM and has two models on sale in China built on the ‘ME’ high-strength steel platform.
The R1 is 3.5m long, 1.6m high and gets a wheelbase of 2.47m. The dimensions make it possibly the smallest electric car in the world with rear doors. However, do not judge this one by its size as the vehicle is very capable. It employs a 33 kWh battery and a 35 kW/125 Nm electric motor which endows it with a travel range of 351 km in the NEDC cycle. Through DC fast charging, the battery pack can be charged from 5% to 80% in 40 minutes.
The hatchback is quite generously equipped (given the size and price segment it is positioned into) with features such as a large touchscreen that controls everything from the air conditioning to the navigation and entertainment, and safety equipment like 4 airbags, TCS and ESC. The wheels are pushed to corners of the car to open up a surprisingly spacious cabin. The R1 is used by Chinese customers for trips inside the city.
Ora R1 electric car – Prospects in India?
The Ora R1 was launched in China (with a hefty government subsidy) at a price of 59,800 RMB to 77,800 RMB (INR 6.1 lakh to INR 7.9 lakh) and with an intensive level of localization, it could undercut the Mahindra eKUV100 as India’s cheapest zero-emissions car.
Great Wall Motors would do better in the long-term to operate in the premium segment for the initial years to establish a brand cachet. It would not immediately want to be considered as maker of cheap or entry vehicles as that would negatively influence sales of the high-margin Haval SUV series. A top-down approach would be the ideal way to map products (seeing the blueprints of new entrants Kia and MG) as Great Wall Motors’ Indian team would be well aware.
Ora R1 Autonomous car
GWM also displayed an autonomous vehicle based on the R1 at the Auto Expo.