AIWAYS is a provider of individual mobility solutions based in Shanghai. And yet the company will manage to bring its first Stromer to Europe as early as 2020, three years after its official foundation. With the all-electric Aiways U5, the company started advance sales in Germany in mid-August last year. Some of the deliveries have already started; but should especially pick up speed in 2021.
I was able to take a seat in the Aiways Stromer for a few days and report in this podcast episode about my experiences, impressions, and facts about the U5. To do this, I grabbed Anika Wild, Head of PR Europe at Aiways, to find out more about the emerging brand, the changed the model year 2021 of the Stromer, and future developments. The Aiways U5 will return for a full review . Then hopefully with sunshine and without rain and snow, in order to be able to prepare corresponding photos of the E-SUV.
Aiways U5 a striking eye-catcher in everyday life
Before we devote ourselves to the inner values of the Aiways electric car, or to go into the technical data of the Stromer in detail, I would like to say a few words about its design. Because this is anything but ordinary. Buzzwords like distinctive, catchy, and conspicuous fit very well. When I first met the electric car, I noticed that it was actually a bit larger than the photos suggest. Briefly to the facts of the aubergine-colored U5, with the cream-white interior. This brings it to a length of 4,680 mm, a width of 1,865 mm, and a height of 1,700 mm. The wheelbase is specified by the manufacturer as 2,800 mm. With regard to its trunk volume, the Stromer has 432 liters and a maximum load volume of 1,555 liters.
Aiways himself describes the exterior of the Stromer as “harmonious, dynamic and self-confident”, one can definitely subscribe to. It is quite noticeable that the U5 comes along with typical SUV lines. Whereby it is precisely these lines that set strong accents and are correspondingly pronounced, the manufacturer also understands curves and surfaces that seem to merge into one another. The front itself is closed and relies on a sharp, contoured design. Which in turn leads to a drag value of 0.29.
In addition to the front of the vehicle, the short overhangs at the front and rear are noticeable. As a result, the Stromer has a correspondingly long wheelbase, which leaves too much space in the interior for drivers and passengers. Before we devote ourselves to this, it should be mentioned that the U5 is based on the MAS (More Adaptable Structure) platform, which enables various drive trains to be equipped with different battery capacities and all-wheel drive. But more on that later.
Less is more inside the Aiways U5
As already mentioned in the previous section, the structure of the electric car helps to hide a spacious interior behind the compact, medium-sized exterior. At first glance, it looks extremely clean, minimalist, and thus reduced to the essentials. When it comes to design, Aiways relies on organic shapes, pleasant materials and warm colors, which should convey a sense of well-being.
Due to the strong reduction to the essentials and the renouncement of an excessive number of buttons, switches, etc., the displays in the vehicle are particularly noticeable. As you can see in the photos, the large dashboard has a clear, horizontal design and modern digital displays. The 12.3-inch screen, which is reminiscent of a tablet, is located in the middle. This can be operated from both the driver and passenger sides. Various vehicle functions can be set via the screen and access to the infotainment system can be found. You can also use this to set the recuperation behavior of the Aiways U5 in three stages – there are no buttons for this on the steering wheel.
Regarding the operation/responsiveness of the screen, it should be said that it starts to feel rather sluggish after you have started the vehicle. It takes some time for the system to start up. Incidentally, the Stromer is only started by stepping on the brakes. A start button does not have to be pressed. Smartphones (Android / iOS) can be connected to the Aiways U5 without any problems; makes sense because this enables navigation via smartphone, among other things. In addition, the company’s own range of software is made possible. Because just like the interior, Aiways is still narrow here. Evaluation options for energy consumption, recovered recuperation energy, etc … are sought in vain. Even with Bluetooth playback, which is interrupted by traffic reports, you always have to start playback manually.
The standard and premium models have the same motor and battery power and the same, generous amount of space. Differences can be found, for example, in the interior fittings, the panoramic sunroof or the foot sensor for opening the trunk.
The seats of the Aiways U5 are extremely comfortable but come without seat cooling/heating. The steering wheel heating has also been dispensed with. Little things that are not absolutely necessary but, in my opinion, contribute to the “premium factor” of a vehicle. Aiways differentiates between the standard and premium models, although there are only “small” adjustments. In addition, a Technic model has been promised, but has not yet been communicated in detail by the manufacturer and cannot be found in the online configurator as of 01/2021.
Powerful electric SUV with an impressive range
With the U5, Aiways sets new standards in terms of efficiency, range, and performance in its E-SUV, according to its own statement. Let’s stay with the topic of range, here the Stromer achieves a range of over 384 km (MY 2020) according to the WLTP cycle. Which, of course, can only be achieved in everyday life under ideal conditions. I can tell you a thing or two about that, as I transported the Stromer to and from Munich myself. After all, a distance of around 360 km (one way). With a remaining range of around 356 km and a battery level of 93%, it would theoretically have been possible to cover the distance in one go. Not in reality.
Because despite a well-filled 63 kWh battery, recharging was necessary; twice. Started with the mentioned 356 km remaining range, with 93% battery capacity, after a good 160 km drive with around 86 km remaining range, at 22% I arrived at the first charging station. This consumption can certainly be attributed to the weather, as well as the cruising speed, as I was on the highway for most of my route. There on average with speeds between 110-130 km / h. Of course, it does its part to ensure that the range decreases noticeably with every kilometer. And yet, with its new battery concept with sandwich construction, the U5 should be able to achieve a real range of almost 300 km at temperatures below freezing point.
At the first charging station (DC charger 50 kW) I then charged a maximum of half an hour of energy in order to cover another piece. Wasn’t exactly the prettiest place on earth to supply your own Stromer with energy. Therefore it was only necessary to charge the battery a little to cover more kilometers and then to use the purely theoretical maximum charging speed of 90 kW of the Stromer on an HPC charger. Started with 15% remaining capacity, the battery had reached over 80% after a good 40 minutes. This is in line with the information provided by Aiways: “The battery of the U5 can be charged from 30% to 80% of its capacity at a DC charging station in just 27 minutes.” The average charging speed should level off at around 70 kW; Peak at the mentioned 90 kW.
“With an AC charging station (6.6 kW, type 2), the vehicle can be charged overnight from 20% to 100% of its capacity in less than 8 hours,” says Aiways. I wasn’t able to gain any experience on this myself, because the Stromer was fully charged on my DC charger again during the week before it was transferred back to Munich. No statement can be made on consumption due to the lack of displays; however, it can be stated that Aiways gives this as 16.6 kWh / 100 km.
We come to the drive of the E-SUV, which is fed from the lithium-ion battery. Here the company relies on an electric motor that develops a peak output of 140 kW and 315 Nm torque at a maximum of 16,000 rpm. According to his own statement, the maximum speed is around 25% above the average values of current electric vehicles. This enables a smaller and lighter engine with a 10% higher power density (181 Wh / kg) compared to similar vehicles in this segment.
In addition, the e-drive system is one of the most compact systems currently used by an e-car manufacturer. This enables Aiways to accommodate the system in vehicles in segments A, B and C in the long term. The electric drive system of the U5 is mounted in the front area of the vehicle with front-wheel drive, but there is also the option of configuring the E-drive for rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Maybe another version of the U5 is waiting for us in the future !?
The driving modes, three in number: Eco, Normal and Sport, can be selected using a button on the steering wheel and regulate the response of the electric car accordingly. With eco rather moderate, with sport lively and with more propulsion. As part of my one-week test, I was in Eco mode a good 90% of the time and I have to say that I didn’t feel particularly restricted.
Aiways U5: which one would you like? It costs that!
At the rather unusual partner for a car manufacturer, the consumer electronics store Euronics, advance sales of the Chinese electric SUV Aiways U5 started in Germany on August 14, 2020. The 150 kW (204 PS) electric car, equipped with a 63 kWh battery pack, is available in two equipment variants: Standard for 38,990 euros and Premium for 41,990 euros. Buyers of both variants benefit from the federal government’s 9,480 euros purchase price subsidy. The Technic variant of the U5 mentioned at the beginning has not yet been priced in, or has been detailed.
We are very excited to bring the U5 to the European market. Although the demand for electric vehicles is increasing, there is still only a very small selection of zero-emission mid-range SUVs in Europe. Given the changes in legislation and improved public awareness, now is the ideal time to bring AIWAYS to Europe and establish the U5 there.Alexander Klose, deputy chairman of the board for international business at AIWAYS
A small conclusion after around 801 km with the Aiways U5
Okay, caught. Of course, they weren’t exactly 801 km. I didn’t even pay close attention to the speedometer. Since most of the kilometers have already accumulated over the transfer journeys (motorway) from and back to Munich. And yet a small conclusion can be drawn about the E-SUV. I was won over by its design, both exterior, and interior, as well as the general workmanship of the Stromer. The range and drive are also more than suitable for everyday use. Under good weather conditions and a “normal” driving style, around 350 km should realistically be achieved with one battery charge.
A bit of a shame, especially in winter, is the fact that the electric car does not have seat and steering wheel heating. Cannot be retrofitted so easily afterwards. Adjustments can certainly be made in terms of software – the start speed of the displays, as well as menu guidance, scope and design – without great effort. Points that look a little more to the left and right certainly doesn’t hurt. Then Aiways can certainly score even more in one of the next software updates. A small but fine detail would be, for example, the possibility of playing on the two “side driver displays” , which are arranged around the driver display, with self-selected content: music, energy consumption, navigation system, …
All in all, however, an electric SUV that can be seen. At the latest, when we can take a closer look at this in model year 2021, I will go into further details and developments on the E-SUV. Before that, however, Anika Wild, Head of PR Europe at Aiways, gives us a deeper insight into Aiways and their U5.
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