7 fleet stars from Auto Shanghai 2023
Auto Shanghai defies the trend of motor shows gradually losing ground. Organised in the world’s biggest EV market, Western car makers showed up big time at the press day next to established and pioneering local car brands. Here’s an update on the new production models gearing up to woo corporate drivers in China.
The Chinese automotive market witnesses an electrification game that moves faster and faster while the pressure to cut prices intensifies. The biennial Auto Shanghai has therefore become a focal point for the most important car brands from all over the world. Not in the least, because the corporate fleet market still has some catching up to do in volume compared to Europe. Here is the fair’s ‘glitterati’ for Chinese fleets.
BYD CHASER 07
Scheduled for launch in its domestic market during the third quarter of 2023, the Chaser 07 must cement BYD’’s performance as the second-best-selling fleet brand in China. The model will be offered in two range versions as a plug-in hybrid sedan with a comfy wheelbase of 2,900 millimetres. They both showcase BYD’s battery know-how, as the cheaper version (RMB 200,000 or $29,900) provides a zero-emission autonomy of 121 kilometres, increasing to 200 kilometres on the RMB 250,000 ($36,245) costing version.
Mobility pioneer Lynk&Co, disrupting the European market with subscription models (not in China), lifted the 08 onto the stage. It’s a New Energy Vehicle with a plug-in hybrid driveline, featuring a 1.5 petrol engine accompanied by a battery pack - like the 01. Though the 08 is bigger, it’s positioned under the 09. The interior is highly digitised. There are currently no export plans.
The fastest Polestar yet (in its dual motor format), the 4 fits between the 2 and the bigger 3. It represents a clean-sheet approach to the SUV coupe genre and replaces the entire rear window by a camera projecting its image on the mirror inside. The range stretches from 560 (all-wheel drive) to 600 kilometres (rear-wheel drive), and fast charging the chunky 102kWh pack takes a little more than half an hour (up to 200kW). Launches in China first by November 2023.
German-Chinese brand Smart unveiled its second model. The #3 is a more sleeky and bigger addition to the recently launched and more boxy #1. It promises to be sportier and offers rear-wheel drive and a 272-hp electric motor. Though no full specs have been unveiled yet, there will also be an all-wheel drive version. The #3, a far throw from the microcars the brand is known for, shares most of its technology with its smaller sibling. It will also be offered in Europe.
As China’s number one fleet brand, Volkswagen chose Shanghai to debut its all-electric flagship ID.7. This five-metre-long fastback is designed for long journeys, capable of 700 kilometres (85kWh) and long-distance comfort. There’s a strong focus on the roomy backseat, a much-coveted feature in Asia, with a voice-controlled panoramic roof, ambient lighting, massaging functions and unprecedented climate control using temperature and humidity sensors. At launch, only one battery version is registered in China, the 77kWh battery pack from FAW-CATL, with a range of 615 kilometres.
As a more accessible model, this G6 coupe crossover must improve the chances for Xpeng in corporate circles. The price fork will be fixed between RMB 200,000 and 300,000 ($28,999 and $43,499), and the all-electric driveline provides a range of up to 755 kilometres. The high-tech battery uses silicon-carbide chemistry and can recharge 200 kilometres in five minutes at 800 volts. Comes equipped with XNGP, which is China’s most advanced ADAS system according to the brand.
The X is the first SUV from Zeekr, a subbrand of Geely, and is a pivotal model as it will also be exported into Europe. In its home country, it aims to attract younger professionals with a lower price tag than initially announced: around $27,000 (RMB 18,900). The local price war leaves its traces. From a 66kWh battery pack, the 4.4 meter-long car offers a range of 512 kilometres (according to the optimistic CLTC homologation). There are technical similarities with the Smart #1 and #3.