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GWM plans sprawling hybrid, PHEV, EV range for Australia

GWM – which is set to break its Australian sales record this year – is getting ready to roll out a broader range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles in this market.

The Chinese company’s local arm has confirmed it will expand its range of “new energy vehicles” (i.e. hybrids, pure-electric vehicles) in 2023. In fact, CarExpert understands the brand could have a total of six or seven electrified cars in its line-up by the end of next year.

That would give the company one of the most diverse ranges of electrified cars in this market.

This number is expected to include the GWM Tank 300 hybrid and GWM Tank 500 plug-in hybrid SUVs set to be revealed at this week’s Chengdu motor show, as well as the GWM Ora Good Cat EV.

A conventional hybrid Tank 500 and plug-in hybrid Haval H6 have also already been revealed in Thailand, while the Ora sub-brand is rolling out a range of other small EVs in the Chinese market. It’s unclear if these vehicles are among those GWM plans to launch.

A hybrid version of the new Haval H6 GT ‘coupe’ SUV isn’t on the company’s radar right now, despite being available in China.

GWM currently offers just two electrified vehicles here: the Haval H6 Hybrid, launched early this year, and the Haval Jolion Hybrid, which reaches showrooms in September.

GWM announced this week it wants 80 per cent of Haval sales globally to be plug-in hybrid or pure-electric by 2025, ahead of an end to internal-combustion drivetrain production entirely by 2030. To that end, it’s planning hybrid versions of all its latest generation products.

It’s expected the Tank brand will follow a similar path to electrification. However, there’s no clear sign at this stage of the GWM Ute being electrified here.

In Australia, the company has been moving away from marketing its GWM Ute and Haval SUV brands separately. The two brands share a website, Haval models feature ‘GWM’ badges on their tailgates, and the brands’ sales are reported together in VFACTS.

It’s understood, then, that vehicles from the separate Ora and Tank brands will follow suit, meaning their vehicles will be badged as ‘GWM Ora’ and ‘GWM Tank’.

This helps bring a stable of disparate vehicles together under one brand name, and is a change from the time-honoured Chinese automotive tradition of incessantly rolling out and marketing separate brands.

GWM Ora Good Cat

The Ora Good Cat – which might wear a different name in Australia – is a Volkswagen Golf-sized electric hatchback and a rival for the likes of the upcoming MG 4 EV and BYD Dolphin/EA1.

An example of the Good Cat has already been spied in Australia, with the company confirming it’s here for local testing and evaluation purposes.

It’s available with a choice of 48kWh or 59kWh batteries in other markets, though in the (also) right-hand drive UK market it’s only available with the smaller of the two.

This gives it 310km of range on the stricter WLTP test cycle. It powers a front-mounted electric motor with 126kW of power and 250Nm of torque.

GWM Tank 300 hybrid

The body-on-frame 300 was the first Tank-branded model for GWM. Initially introduced in 2020 as a member of GWM’s premium Wey brand, Tank was spun off in 2021.

A petrol-powered 300 was already brought here for promotional and testing purposes last year, with GWM running focus groups on both it and the Haval Dargo crossover.

The Tank 300, related to the GWM Ute and slightly shorter than a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, features low-range gearing, front and rear electromechanical locking differentials and a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

The hybrid variant will also use a 2.0-litre turbo, albeit naturally paired with an electric motor. Using a nine-speed automatic transmission and a 1.7kWh battery, the Tank 300 hybrid will produce total system outputs of 224kW and 648Nm.

Those outputs are up 57kW and 263Nm on the regular Tank 300 powertrain, also cutting the 0-100km/h time from 9.5 seconds to 7.9 seconds.

GWM Tank 500 hybrid and GWM Tank PHEV

GWM has been steadily revealing the wider 500 range, with the mild-hybrid turbo-petrol V6 model appearing first last year, the hybrid version following in December, and the plug-in hybrid version set for reveal this week.

The hybrid model, revealed in Thailand, uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. Power is sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission that houses an electric motor.

It sits between the Toyota LandCruiser Prado and 300 Series in size, and shares its body-on-frame architecture with the Tank 300. The brand also has a range of other large SUV models in the pipeline, including the aggressively styled 400 and 700.

The plug-in hybrid Tank 500 will also use a turbo 2.0-litre, albeit paired with a larger 19.94kWh battery that affords it a claimed electric range of 50km.

The system outputs are reportedly 309kW and 750Nm. It’s 300kg heavier than the regular petrol-powered 500 due to the weight of the PHEV components.

GWM Haval H6 PHEV

Revealed late last year in Thailand, the plug-in hybrid H6 – like its conventional hybrid counterpart sold here – uses a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine mated with an electric motor and a battery.

Outputs are 240kW of power and 530Nm of torque, up 61kW on the H6 Hybrid. GWM says it’ll achieve 110km of electric-only range, the caveat being this is on the overly optimistic NEDC cycle.

GWM Australia said at the time of its reveal it was focusing on the launch of the H6 Hybrid, which has subsequently proved to be “challenging” to source since its launch. It’s unclear if the PHEV could join the line now that Haval has been able to secure better supply of the hybrid.

GWM Ora Lightning Cat

The Ora Lightning Cat is an electric sedan with Porsche-inspired styling, revealed first in concept form in Shanghai last April and then later at Munich wearing 03 Cat badging.

Given its appearance in Europe, it’s likely one of the Ora products that will be exported to global markets.

Specifications revealed at Munich confirmed the 03 Cat/Lightning Cat uses a dual-motor powertrain. It produces total system outputs of 304kW and 680Nm, with an 82kWh battery giving it a claimed WLTP range of around 450km.

It’s also quite a bit larger than the Golf-sized Good Cat, measuring 4870mm long, 1860mm wide and 1500mm tall on a 2870mm wheelbase and weighing up to 1970kg.

Those dimensions make it only fractionally shorter than a Toyota Camry, albeit on a 45mm longer wheelbase. That would put the Lightning Cat up against the likes of the new Hyundai Ioniq 6.

Other GWM products

Ora has also revealed a pair of retro electric hatchbacks heavily inspired by the original Volkswagen Beetle: the Ballet Cat and the Punk Cat.

Great Wall Motor also sells a range of electrified vehicles under its upscale Wey brand, which it will launch in the fourth quarter of this year in Europe with the large, Toyota Kluger-sized plug-in hybrid Coffee 01 crossover.

This is the export name for the Mocha, the largest of a range of new-generation Wey models rolled out over the past couple of years which includes the mid-sized Latte and small Macchiato. All are available with plug-in hybrid powertrains.

The Coffee 01 features total system outputs of 350kW of power and 847Nm of torque, with an impressive WLTP electric range claim of 150km and a 0-100km/h time of five seconds.

While Wey has only ever sold SUVs, it’s expected to reveal its first car at Chengdu: the retro plug-in hybrid Yuanmeng, believed to be related to the Ora Ballet Cat but featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

GWM Australia has indicated the Ora and Tank sub-brands will come here, but it hasn’t indicated any plans to bring Wey models.

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