Quality can be seen, felt, touched. The slogan studied years ago by an advertising agency for a brand in a completely different product sector also applies to WEY Coffee 01, the still unofficial name of a surprising Chinese plug-in SUV (named in code V71). The range of 150 kilometers in electric mode alone – just enough to cover the average travel needs of a week – says a lot. To legitimize the data, awaiting approval, there is a 41.8 kWh battery, among other things developed and produced by Svolt, one of the companies of the Great Wall Motors (GMW) group which anticipates the its great product offensive.
The 4.85-meter-long SUV coupé is only the first model of a range of four expected over the next two years with the same brand. The second is practically ready, that is an almost twin vehicle measuring about fifteen centimeters less and with a 35 kWh battery. The offensive also includes other brands, one of which, the fully electric ORA, is present in Munich.
Design, development and production are entirely Chinese, although the manufacturer has several European suppliers for components. In the Old Continent, GWM operations will be directed from Munich, where the five top managers are European, including 46-year-old Vittorio D’Arienzo with a background in Fiat, Hyundai and Kia, chosen two years ago as Product Planning director.
WEY’s first market will be Germany, but D’Arienzo also pushes on Italy, where the impressive SUV could arrive as early as the summer of next year at a price of around 50,000 euros. Under the hood it mounts a system of 450 hp and 847 Nm of torque based on two electric units and a 2.0-liter Miller cycle petrol unit that guarantee all-wheel drive. In zero-emission mode, the maximum speed is over 135 per hour with an acceleration of 7 seconds from 0 to 100.
Lines, proportions and price seem able to attract the attention of European customers, who will be offered a double option for purchasing: either the normal distribution network or online. For this reason, the price lists will be substantially uniform at continental level. The connectivity is guaranteed of the highest level (WEY has turned to Qualcomm which mounts the Snapdragon 8155 chip as the first production car in the world) to create a true digital environment. The passenger compartment, huge (unlike the luggage compartment, whose dimensions are only “normal”), unequivocally expresses the quality choice of the Chinese manufacturer. Apart from the color combinations, there are soft plastics everywhere. There is no trace of buttons: all information and commands are concentrated in four screens. “They are standard on every model”, smiles D’Arienzo in front of the reporter’s incredulity. The augmented reality head-up display combined with the screen behind the steering wheel is included. To increase safety, object recognition by radar and cameras is three-dimensional.
In the center of the dashboard there is an Xxl format monitor, while in the suspended console there is a display through which the air conditioning system is controlled with haptic response, that is, every change in level is felt on the fingertips. Thanks to the over-the-air function, the suv will be constantly updated. The space seems infinite both for those occupying the front seats and for those sitting in the back. Naturally approved for five passengers, the SUV has an extremely small rear central corridor making the entire sofa habitable. D’Arienzo knows the doubts of motorists: “Great Wall does not want to compromise on quality”, he says, recalling that the company is evaluating a standard warranty of well over 2 years. And he adds: “Great Wall is in Europe to stay there”.