Chinese-made Ora Cat 01 electric car goes into RHD

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GWM brand to produce small EV in right-hand drive from next year, with Australia potentially not far off.

Chinese car maker Great Wall has confirmed that its Ora Cat 01, a pure-electric hatchback from its new EV spin-off brand, will be available to order in the UK as a RHD car from December. Deliveries are scheduled for the first half of 2022.

GWM has previously stated its interest in the model for Australia and RHD production will only ease the potential for confirmation of a local launch which could commence as early as 2022. Priced for the model in the UK starts from around the equivalent of $45,000.

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The Ora Cat 01 made its European debut at the Munich Motor Show earlier this year and will rival the Volkswagen ID.3. At 4235mm long and 1825mm wide, both cars are about the same size, but Ora’s aggressive pricing strategy means it undercuts its German opponent.

It’s based on Great Wall’s new dedicated electric-vehicle platform and powered by an electric motor mounted on the front axle, which develops 124kW and 250Nm of torque, enough for a claimed 0-50km/h time of 3.8 seconds, according to the brand.

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Buyers will also be able to choose from either a 48kWh or a 63kWh battery, the larger of which offers a maximum claimed range of 420km. The car’s electrical system also supports 80kW rapid charging, meaning the 63kWh unit can take on an 80 per cent charge in 50 minutes.

The Ora Cat 01’s retro stylised looks blend together design cues from icons such as the Porsche 911 and the MINI, but the technology on board is bang-up-to-date.

There’s plenty of driver-assistance technology, including autonomous parking, lane assist and a facial recognition system that can identify when the driver is fatigued or distracted.

Buyers also get 12 ultrasonic radar sensors and multiple exterior cameras that collectively monitor the car’s surroundings. The information gathered is then processed by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon computing chip, which allows for semi-autonomous driving, too.

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Inside, there’s a 10.25-inch digital dash panel and a 10.25-inch infotainment system, which are both mounted in one seamless 20.5-inch unit set on top of the car’s dashboard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are also included, and all of the car’s systems will be supported by over-the-air software updates.

Chinese car makers are gaining an ever stronger foothold in the global car market. MG and Volvo both have Chinese owners; Nio has already launched its cars in Norway and iPhone maker Foxconn recently broke into the industry, unveiling two new EVs.

Luke Wilkinson

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