An alternative to electric cars: Can hydrogen power really save the internal combustion engine? | Opinion
New development of hydrogen combustion presents an opporutunity accordiing to...
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
If you’re an avid follower of all things electric cars, or even the crazy range of new products coming out of China, there’s a chance you may have seen this car without camouflage before.
That’s because this new Great Wall EV was not only unveiled at last year’s Guangzhou Auto Show, but it was even given a price-tag and sold as it appeared in ultra-limited quantities.
So why new camouflage shots? Chinese media is speculating that this is the mass production version of this new luxury performance EV, sold under a new Great Wall subsidiary, Saloon. This particular car wears a name which translates to “Mecha Dragon”.
The model seen at the 2021 Guangzhou auto show was offered in a 100-unit limited run, priced at just over the equivalent of A$100,000.
In its original incarnation, the Saloon Mecha Dragon offered over 800km of driving range on a single charge from its 115kWh battery pack. Max power from the current all-wheel-drive-only model is rated at 400kW/750Nm, for a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.7 seconds.
The Ioniq 6 AWD produces 239kW/605Nm for reference, although an N version based on the RN22e concept could produce up to 440kW/740Nm.
The Mecha Dragon also claims to offer a high level of autonomous driving capability, thanks to the presence of 38 sensors including four lidar arrays.
The four-door, long-wheelbase liftback silhouette is remarkably reminiscent of Hyundai’s recently revealed Ioniq 6, complete with the smooth, squared-off headlight fittings, small spoiler, and curvy light bar cutting across the rear.
It is unclear whether the mass production version of the Mecha Dragon will adopt the more over-the-top body panel elements which adorn the car seen at the Guangzhou show.
The Mecha Dragon is intended to be the flagship sports luxury offering in GWM’s line-up, and will launch into a market of other similarly-shaped electrified GT vehicles like the Ioniq 6 and incoming Polestar 5 which is also to be built in China but yet to be fully revealed.
Whether or not GWM adds its flagship Saloon brand to its Australian line-up is another story. The Chinese juggernaut currently offers the GWM Cannon ute under its primary name, but also markets SUVs under the Haval brand.
CarsGuide understands GWM has plans to also add its fully electric city car brand, Ora, to the local line-up, which produces more affordable retro-styled electric hatchbacks and small SUVs, as well as studying the potential for its off-road and combustion-focused Tank off-road SUV sub-brand at a later time.
One thing is certain - GWM’s electric offerings will be up against stiff competition from both established automakers, and other Chinese rivals like MG and BYD, both of which are promising an expanded local lineup in the coming years.