It’s compact; it’s cute, it’s CHEAP!
It’s the ORA R1!
Baoding-based Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors (GMW) has pulled the wraps off the world’s cheapest electric car, the 2019 ORA R1, with a decent warranty and a maximum cruising range of 194 miles (312 kilometers).
What’s more is that it’s going to be pretty easy on the pocket as well, with a government-incentivized price ranging from 59,800 yuan to 77,800 yuan ($8,860 to $11,526 per the CNY/USD rate as of Jan 11, 2019).
ORA, which stands for ‘open reliable alternative,’ is GMW’s new energy vehicle brand and ORA R1 is the company’s second flagship EV model, which was launched at the RNG e-sports arena in Beijing late last month.
Based on the country’s first proprietary electric car platform, ME, the R1 is being labeled as the “world’s fifth boutique vehicle” by industry insiders, and it’s not hard to guess why.
It’s easy on the eyes; it’s spacious; it has AI-enabled functions; and it offers five color options, including titanium white, cadet blue, sky blue, combination of titanium white and glitter black, and combination of cadet blue and titanium white.
“As a new market entrant, ORA R1 delivers an unprecedented experience to drivers,” said Ning Shuyong, ORA General Manager and GMW Vice President, in a post-launch statement.
He said that ORA would work on a network-based business model comprising an ORA app (ORA Home), experience centers and smart outlets in the central business districts of Chinese cities, effectively replacing the traditional dealership-centered 4S (sales, service, spare parts, and surveys) way of doing things.
“In addition, the big data cloud that is created as the result of the information collected from the ORA app, the ORA shopping site and the Tmall e-shop opens the way to the development of multiple scenarios for offline sales and services as well as new transportation services for both drivers and passengers,” Shuyong added.
Admitted, ORA R1 is not in the same league as, say, a Tesla Roadster in terms of speed or premium finish, but it sure is going to give the Teslas of the world some food for thought as it captures the imagination of the “urban youth” with its compact size, affordability, and visual appeal.
However, Tesla and the likes have some time on their hands to come up with an answer to this little delight, as the R1 is intended for the local market and is not going global, yet.
Here are some of the main features and specifications of the new ORA flagship.
The four-door electric hatchback is powered by a 35-kilowatt (47 hp) motor that promises a top speed of around 62 miles per hour (100 km/h).
The onboard 35-kilowatt-hour battery will keep the car going for 194 miles (312 kilometers) on a single charge as determined by the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test.
The EV is being made available with a three-year or 120,000-kilometer (74,000 miles) warranty on the whole car, plus an eight-year or 150,000-kilometer (93,200 miles) guarantee for the vehicle’s “core components.”
The ORA R1 is 3,495mm long, 1,660mm wide and 1,560mm tall, with a wheelbase length of 2,475 mm.
The neatly-engineered exterior of the car is somewhat squarish in shape with a couple of circular headlights on the front.
The block-like grille is hinged on the left and opens up to reveal the charging port concealed behind it.
Each of the wheel-rims has four openings that resemble a four-bladed windmill, which enhances the car’s cool looks.
The AI-enabled car can be woken up with a simple “Hello Ora”
The ORA R1’s interior is largely black and white with attractive styling, highlighted by a lot of rounded features, including AC vents, twin dashboard, three-spoke steering, and gear shift.