Ora Cat — 5 Doors, 63 kWh Battery, 261 Mile Range, OTA Updates, Just £28,000

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Ora is a division of China’s Great Wall Motors that only produces 100% battery-powered electric cars. It has just announced that the Cat, a 5 door hatchback with a 63 kWh battery, 261 miles of range, and a host of electronic goodies, including over-the-air software updates, will be coming to the UK next year with a starting price of £28,000. The Cat will be eligible for the government’s £2,500 EV incentive administered by the Office of Zero Emissions Vehicles.

Why is this news? Because, according to Autocar, the Cat sells for virtually the same price as the all-new Mazda MX-30, which has about half the range, and the base level Volkswagen ID. 3, which has a 45 kWh battery and about 200 miles of range. The Cat will also be available with a 58 kWh battery for £25,000 and a range of 209 miles.

Both cars are capable of charging at 80 kW using a CCS fast charger, while 6.6 kW single-phase AC charging and 11 kW three-phase AC charging are standard as well. The Cat has a 169 hp (126 kW) motor that powers the front wheels and can propel the car to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds — about the same as the base model of Toyota’s new BZ4X. The Cat is 4.2 meters long with a wheelbase of 2.65 meters and a height of 1.6 meters — numbers very similar to the ID. 3.

This car is no bargain-basement strippo model. In addition to over-the-air updates, it has LED lights in the front and the rear, 18-inch alloy wheels, a pair of high resolution 10.25″ screens with smartphone mirroring, rear parking sensors, a 360 degree camera, facial recognition, and a raft of other driver-assistance features. An app even allows various functions to be controlled remotely. All four trim levels will offered with a long list of standard equipment, making the Cat a viable rival even to compact EVs from established European premium brands, says Autocar.

Great Wall’s goal is to sell 50,000 Cats per year in the UK, with another model to follow next year, building eventually to a comprehensive lineup comprised of both hatchbacks and SUVs, some of which are already on sale in China. Ora intends to showcase its cars in shopping centers to familiarize the public with the brand as it ramps up its presence in the market.

The Takeaway

The Ora Cat is an attractive offering at an attractive price. The front end with its upright headlights and sloping hood (bonnet, if you speak Brit) bears more than a passing resemblance to many Porsche models. In fact, it looks like a miniaturized Macan, which is high praise indeed. For the money, it has a lot to offer.

But that’s not the whole story. The real news is that the Chinese are coming and they are bringing competitive cars at attractive prices to the masses. Chinese cars are virtually non-existent in North America, what with the governments of the US and China hissing and spitting at each other, but that could change. And when it does, the Chinese could do to the US market what the Japanese and the South Koreans did before them. The EV revolution is happening and it will include Chinese cars, politics be damned!

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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