This is the ORA R1. what is ORA? well, it’s Open Reliable and Alternative, apparently. and this is the newest electric line from Great Wall Motors in China. this electric car has a 33 kWh battery and is good for a range of about 301 Km. (NEDC-New European Driving Cycle)
You probably know GWM. they’ve imported several trucks into the UK which I don’t think they were particularly good. but this is their first all-electric car.
Honestly, the specs are not amazing. but the most important thing is the price. now we’ll come on to the price of it later. so let’s have a look around the car to see what other features it’s got.
Aesthetics & Features
The front end of this car is it’s quite good-looking. interestingly, this isn’t actually that much bigger than a classic mini. it’s about 20 centimeters bigger that way. and a little bit taller. and they’ve gone with the concept of a very long wheelbase just like the mini. small boot. everything’s very compact in this car.
But it’s very good fun to drive. driving around the city it’s talking a little go-kart. you know a little electric go-kart. the range is fine. you know we don’t need hundreds and hundreds of miles. if we are popping to the shops or picking up our babies etc. this car is perfect for that.
Charging & Fast-Charging
Anyway charging, you’ve got your charges as a fast charger and your regular charger. and it filled up about half the battery in about 30 minutes. so it’s very very rapid. and because it’s not got a very big battery it doesn’t take very long.
Not so vital statistics
Here is a tiny 47 HP electric motor powering the front wheels. it’s not especially fast. but I’m not racing it. and I don’t need ridiculous speeds like Tesla. you know at the end of the day this is a cheap car.
Cost in China
In Shanghai, the Number-plates for petrol cars cost ten thousand pounds. but a plate for an electric car is completely free. now this car after subsidies in Shanghai will cost you around 70,000 RMB. which is an incredible value for money. seventy thousand RB is around 8000-9000 pounds.(around $10,000) and this is a car aimed at urban markets like Shanghai. and also overseas markets such as India and South America.
So sitting in the back seat of the ORA R1, I actually have quite a lot of space. this is very deep. I’ve got a lot of headroom. and the width is quite comfortable as well. now I don’t have any extras in here. I have a speaker, I have a handle, and I have a window which opens. it’s as basic as it gets.
But it would actually be quite comfortable for a reasonably long journey. I do have some USB chargers down here which is useful. and a little cup holder. but you know that’s it I do have space for a baby seat there’s a baby seat here next to me. but overall quite a comfortable place to be.
If we come to the rear of the car it’s got these lovely wings. not standard the owners put these on. anyway, you’ve got your boot space in here. now it’s not particularly big. but it’s quite deep. you know I’m not gonna get much stuff in here. you get a few shopping bags. and you know that’s fine that’s all you need it for real.
No Frills Interior & Basic Controls
Now the interior of the ORA R1 is basic. this is all plastic there are no eco-materials in here I’m afraid. I have a little touch screen up here which is 9 inches. I have two little screens in here. which I can’t see anything because it’s too bright and they’re angled in the wrong position.
anyway, it only tells me my range and my speed. all the rest of the controls are very simple I have a little knob for a reverse neutral drive. down here I’ve got an old-school handbrake. I don’t have any electric handbrake here. but you know this is a very cheap car built to a price. the focus has been on the battery. not on the interior.
Driving the ORA R1
It’s anyway enough of my waffling. let’s take it for a spin and see what it’s like to drive. now I would say when I first got into this car yesterday. it was probably the most fun I’ve had in the Navy ever. it’s just so cute looking and compact and small and you know it’s really fun to drive.
You know very very enjoyable. so the car actually has two modes. it’s got an eco mode in a normal mode. eco mode I found out to my dismay is limited to 70 kilometers an hour on the motorway. which I was getting overtaken by a lot of trucks of a theme why is this so slow.
Anyway, it’s a normal mode now. yes sir nothing in this car is fancy. dolls are very basic I have air conditioning. I don’t think I even have a sat-nav on the screen here. it’s just the basic air conditioning home play your music and the radio. but it does have a reversing camera. It is great not that you really need it because the turning circle of this is fantastic. it turns on a penny. just like that and it’s very easy to maneuver around.
Visibility & Spaciousness
I said earlier that the visibility is good. and yes it is very good I’ve got a lot of space out here to look out of you know.
I’ve got plenty of room for my head there’s a lot of space in here even for such a compact little car. so
Lightweight & Efficient
I do have to say one thing about this car. not only is it the cheapest or most affordable electric car. I think there is. it’s also one of the lightest. this car weighs under a thousand kilograms this is at 990 kilograms. with me inside tips over the scale. but I think that might be one of the lightest electric cars out there. so not only do we have the cheapest.
But we have the lightest. and as Evy manufacturers. isn’t this the kind of car that we should be aiming for? something accessible to everyone. which doesn’t weigh two tons. which doesn’t do naught to 60 in three seconds which isn’t important really. but is very accessible and really easy to drive.
You know I’ve driven this through the city. I’ve driven this on the motorway are a hundred. and it’s fine and I still have a lot of range left. it’s super fast to charge. arm really what more could you ask for.
Copycat or Accessible Car
I think it would be very easy to pull this car apart. and say oh it’s a copy of the Honda e.. blah blah blah blah blah.
Yes, it does look very similar and I think they have taken a lot of inspirations from that car. but the important thing is that they’ve created the car. not what it looks like that that can change next year in a couple of years when they update the model. but what they’ve done is create a car that is accessible to everyone.
There is definitely something to be said for simplicity as well. because I think all of us have been very spoiled by all of the big screens and all the gadgets and all the heat seating and everything else that you get in every electric car now. I was in the expen p7 last weekend. and obviously, it’s fantastic it parks itself. it has 20 radars, 18 speakers.
But there’s a lot to be said for a car which is really really simple like this. which just lets you get on the drive. you don’t have to worry about anything. you drive the car you charge it. up. and that’s it. and I don’t have to worry about sensors or beeping things or anything like that.
Ease to Drive & Turning Circle
I can just I can just drive. and what a driver is this really is nimble. and I can see you know I can see the front of the car. I can see the sides of the car. it’s super super easy to drive. it and the turning circle. and that’s easy. now reversing I do have my reversing camera that’s probably the only little technology gadget I have which is the camera. drive steering is very light no me she’s there
I can just drive past. and go. there put my foot down. what’s driving not especially fast.
Basic Instrumentation & Outdated Dials
So it did mention earlier these dials and I really am struggling to see what they say. I know I can see my speed in here in kilometers an hour. and I can see how many revolutions I’ve done. if the seatbelts are done. up that’s it that’s all I can see in that. On the other side, I can see my lights. which I’ve left on .how much range I have left and it’s got a picture of a car with a petrol pump. which is a little bit odd.
The next of the battery it’s a big lead-acid battery symbol. telling me how many volts I’ve done and that’s it. and just ready it’s really simple. but I don’t need much more than that. it could be a little bit bright that I think to be honest I’ve been spoiled by my mega bright screen in my shell part and so. that is great.
Good Effort! Great Wall Motors
So I think we do have to commend Great Wall for what they’ve done. they’ve bought a simple city car. for people who can’t afford a Tesla for example. to the masses. and these are people who don’t need the fripperies of a Tesla. really.
You know no one needs any of that stuff. but what they’ve done here is create a car that will run around in these very congested. maybe in Asian cities. and quickly charge. and although it does look a bit familiar. I think they’ve done a fantastic job..y
So one thing they do see a lot of comments about is build quality. now, these cars down ten thousand kilometers. and it doesn’t have any rattle shakes or anything like that.
Chinese Battery Suppliers
I do see a lot of people commenting oh it’s all going to blow up or explode or whatever in the fire. because there have been lots of battery fires in China but they really haven’t. and you know most of the battery suppliers in China are provided by one company CATL. who has signed a contract with Tesla to bribe their batteries.
So the tech is there you know although the looks might not be there at the moment. you know they’re still copying. China has actually caught up exceptionally fast with the West. and within a couple of years. if they were selling this in the UK I think this would be a very competitive ca.r and something that’s a lot of people warned to drive.
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A Most Affordable Electric Car with a Competitive Price Tag. A Great Commuter with Surprising Long Range for City and Daily Use.
- Decent Motor Performance
- Impressive Driving Range
- Very Easy Handling
- Simple Interior
- Competitive Low Price Tag
- Unclear Safety Rating
- Maybe Uncomfortable for Big People
Design and Interior