‘Chinese Rolls Royce’ Hongqi E115 electric SUV could use ‘E-HS9’ name [Update]

Chinese automotive portals have reported that the Hongqi E115 will be released in the second half of the year at a price of about RMB 500,000 (Rs 53.3 lakh) and could be called as the Hongqi E-HS9. Hongqi’s current SUVs use the ‘HS’ prefix – the HS3, HS5 and the HS7 are those vehicles. Below are the first undisguised images of the car floating on the web that reveal a bodacious design faithful to last year’s concept car.

Hongqi which was originally a sedan for senior members of the Chinese government, over the last couple of years is viewed increasingly as an aspirational luxury car brand in China with serious ambitions to take on the German Big 3. Sales of Hongqi shot to 100,000 vehicles last year for the first time, with the company drifting away from conservative looks and plain interiors to a more forward-looking design, electric drivetrains, new materials and processes, integrating AI and 5G in its vehicles and promising to mass-produce L3 and L4 autonomous vehicles in 2020 and 2021. The company is aiming to get to about 1 million units per year this decade and has lined up 21 new models, 18 of which would be electric or hybrid.

The E115 adopts a look similar to the Hongqi H9 carrying the 12-bar vertical grille that lights up in a U formation with the ‘Red Flag’ icon at the centre. The grille is flanked by two vertical ‘fangs’ to emphasize the 3D-effect and the headlamps could be the largest for a production vehicle. The shoulder line runs from the upper lamps across to the side to the rear combination lights to provide a commanding look, whereas other details worth mentioning include the pillar bezels to break the optical bulk, height emphasized by a glass to metal ratio, side applique designed like a light trail, and chrome bumper finishers for extra premiumness.

Reports that surfaced in late April revealed new details of the Hongqi E115 electric SUV, launch plans of which appears to be unaffected by the Coronavirus outbreak. The E115 is reported to be launched in the second half of 2020 in China and is expected to offer a range of over 600 km to a charge (WLTP). Interior space will be aplenty thanks to a wheelbase of 3,250 mm but the large SUV will be no slouch as a 0 to 100 km/h in under 4 seconds is reported again in the latest update. The electric SUV will also be an all-wheel-drive model and will come equipped with seven driving modes.

Hongqi E115 electric SUV side sketch by enthusiast

A talented Chinese sketch artist and automotive enthusiast who goes by the handle ‘Wei Sir’ had sketched the front, side, rear and interior of the Hongqi E115 electric SUV (above). We’re impressed with his work and in a blog on Chinese site PCAuto, he says the way the Chinese public perceive Hongqi has changed completely after it unveiled the H9 (flagship sedan) recently. He notes that everyone now pays attention to it, talks about it and the Chinese hope that Hongqi becomes a domestic luxury car brand that people aspire for.

Head over to PCAuto.com.cn to catch the video and the blog that previews the design of the much-awaited electric SUV.

The Hongqi E115 was spotted during road tests last month when the interiors were partially revealed. Chinese Car Intelligence had tweeted the pictures of the SUV testing in China. Though not everything can be seen, there is the leather-wrapped steering, luxurious quilts on the seats and white accents on the dashboard. The instrument panel is expected to adopt a one-piece design, while the centre console area has a T-shaped design built with premium material. The yacht-style drive selector and the three-spoke multi-function steering wheel give the interior further talking points.

As development of the product unfolded, details regularly emerged on the Hongqi E115, the SUV concept that made its premiere at 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, on the Chinese press. PCauto.com.cn reported that the electric SUV will go into production with a total investment of 1.75 billion yuan, and a total of 51,500 units will be produced within a planned six-year period.

The report added that the company is not stopping with a single variant. It will be launched in 6-seat or 7-seat models a few years into its lifecycle. Note that ‘E115’ is a code and the commercial name of the car will be revealed close to the launch. Chinese portals are also speculating that the chassis of the E115 will spawn a luxurious MPV (think Lexus LM) in the coming years.

Hongqi E115 Concept front three quarter view
The rear view mirrors on the final version are a conventional design, and do not integrate cameras. Spy pictures on Chinese portals show chrome on the C- and D-Pillar and the production model having an embellisher on the wheelbase akin to a Range Rover.

The production version will follow the E115 concept very closely and adopt Hongqi’s latest design language. The E115 Concept has been designed by Giles Taylor, a former designer at Rolls-Royce and prior to joining Hongqi as its Global Vice President of Design and Chief Creative Officer, Taylor oversaw the design of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Phantom.

The first pictures of the Hongqi E115 production model being tested in camouflage popped up a couple of months ago from China. Though we could only see only the rear, it closely follows the E115 concept with Y-shaped wrap around tail lamps, connected by a chrome strip that runs the width of the car. Small roofrails, shark fin antenna and what looks like a smooth and clean side profile complete the package.

The E115 or Hongqi E-HS9 is based on the FMA platform, with a length, width and height of 5160 mm, 2000 mm and 1730 mm respectively along with a wheelbase spanning 3250 mm, making it one of the largest electric cars in the world. For reference, the length, width, and height of the BMW X7 are 5163/2000/1835 mm and the wheelbase is 3105 mm. The wheels are to be available in 265/45 R21 and 275/40 R22 sizes.

Hongqi E-HS9 SpecificationsFigures
Length5160 mm
Width2000 mm
Height1730 mm 
Wheelbase3250 mm
Battery Capacity92.4 kWh
Power (Front Axle)218 hp
Torque (Front Axle)350 Nm
Power (Rear Axle)299 hp
Torque (Rear Axle)420 Nm
Range600 km plus
Acceleration (0-100 Km/h)Under 4 seconds
Expected Price (China)RMB 500,000 (Rs 53.3 lakh)

The E115 will be equipped with dual motors – the maximum power of the front axle motor is 218 horsepower and the maximum torque is 350 Nm; the maximum power of the rear axle motor is 299 horsepower and the maximum torque is 420 Nm. The capacity of the ternary lithium battery is 92.4kWh and the cruising range is expected to exceed 600 km, with an impressive acceleration time (0-100km/h) of under 4 seconds. In addition, the electric SUV adopts a steel chassis with air suspension as standard. It remains to be seen if Level 4 Autonomous driving tech is offered on what is touted as the ‘Chinese Rolls Royce Cullinan’ besides the 7 driving modes of the concept vehicle. On the subject of Rolls-Royce, you can read our report about the next-gen Ghost touted to be its first electric car later this year as the brand transitions smoothly to electric drive.

Hongqi E115 Concept rear three quarter view
At the front, the E115 gets a ‘long’ face with the red flag logo dominating at the centre. The production model will retain the large wheels and the flush door handle design. Inside, we can expect a fully digital instrument cluster, a big touchscreen infotainment system with voice control and smart connectivity options.

Meanwhile, FAW Group Corporation, the mother company of Hongqi, has planned to increase Hongqi’s sales by 100 per cent to 200,000 units in 2020, 400,000 in 2022, 600,000 in 2025, and 800,000 to 1 million in 2030. These are numbers from before the Coronavirus outbreak that shut car plants down for a few weeks in China.

Hongqi recorded its highest-ever annual sales in 2019 with total sales of 100,166 vehicles. The company has also planned to launch 21 new models that will include 18 new energy vehicles to take on the established players in the luxury car market.

Video courtesy: DrGumoLunatic Youtube channel

[Source: PCauto.com.cn & Auto.163.com]