Gumpert’s way: Audi, Apollo supercar, now Chinese Aiways U5 crossoverDecember 1, 2018
In China, this week, the premiere of the serial version of the electric crossover U5 from a young startup Aiways. The development of the machine was supervised by the famous German engineer Roland Gumpert.
The Chinese car industry continues to entice the best minds of the global automotive industry. Founded last year with the participation of the former top manager of the SAIC concern, electric startup Aiways hired Roland Gumpert, who previously headed Audi’s sports division, and later founded his own company, producing small-scale supercars Gumpert Apollo. Things did not go smoothly with Gumpart-manager, his company closed in 2014, and was recently revived with the money of Hong Kong investors as Apollo Automobil, but without Gumpert. And now Gumpert works for the Chinese.
Aiways showed a prototype of the U5 crossover this spring, and this week the presentation of the serial version took place. At the heart of the Aiways U5 is its own modular platform MAS with a 63 kWh integrated in the floor lithium-ion battery. Full charge is enough for 460 km on the outdated NEDC driving cycle, that is, in reality – kilometers per three hundred. As an option, however, an additional battery of 18 kWh will be offered (it is placed under the boot floor), and then the nominal power reserve rises to 560 km.
The only 140 kW (190 hp) electric motor drives the front axle, four-wheel drive is not provided, an independent multi-link suspension is installed at the rear, and MacPherson struts in front. The length of the car is 4680 mm, the wheelbase is 2800 mm, that is, the Aiways U5 is a fairly spacious mid-size crossover, but there are only five seats in the cabin.
The driver’s seat is decorated very exquisitely, a lot of leather (or leatherette) is used in the decoration, there is almost no bare plastic. Instead of devices and buttons – two large multifunctional screens and a climate control touch panel. The exterior is very discreet and balanced, the door handles are flush with the sidewalls of the body, the drag coefficient C of the car is only 0.29. Gumpert probably did a good job on the chassis, so ruling Aiways U5 would be better than other new Chinese “electric trains”.
Production of the U5 will begin in the second half of next year, and Aiways subsequently promises to introduce other models on the MAS platform. Chinese startups are not reporting anything about the export prospects of their products.
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