While Chery is expected to concentrate its initial focus on regular ICE SUVs upon its planned return to Malaysia next year, the Chinese automaker is also hoping to tap into the avenue of electrification, of which traffic is set to increase significantly in 2022 with the upcoming EV tax exemptions that were announced in Budget 2022.
It will do so with its eQ1 all-electric mini car, which it said it hopes to introduce in Malaysia “as soon as possible” – the car could come our way as early as next year. During a recent video call, a spokesperson for the brand stated that the company had plans to introduce new energy vehicles into the market upon its return, and in an email earlier this week, the spokesperson said it was looking to take advantage of the tax breaks with the introduction of the eQ1.
The two-door, four-seater micro car has been around for a while, but has been given a series of updates since its debut, with the latest iteration being launched recently. In the latest round, the company said 168 items have been completely refreshed on the vehicle, which features an all-aluminium body.
These include mechanical revisions, with the introduction of a higher output 55 kW (74 hp) version, offering the car a 0-50 km/h acceleration time of under five seconds and a top speed of 120 km/h, the latter a 20 km/h increase over the version equipped with the 30 kW (40 hp) and 120 Nm motor.
The car is available in two range option variants, the first being a 301 km version equipped with a 30.6 kWh lithium battery, and the second a 408 km version with what should be an uprated 38 kWh battery, both ranges quoted under a NEDC cycle, which would mean lower numbers under real world conditions. Chery says it sources the battery cells for its self-developed battery from CATL, while the electric motor on the car is a unit derived from its joint venture with Japanese manufacture Yaskawa Electric.
For the Chinese market, the car features items such as one-button automatic parking, one-button remote control, remote air conditioning starting as well as a 10-inch high-definition LCD screen, AI voice interaction and Baidu Car-Life+4GWi-Fi connectivity.
In China, the eQ1 range is priced between 66,800 yuan (RM44,300) to about 80,000 yuan (RM53,000) after government subsidies, so it’ll be interesting to see how much it will go for here, should plans to introduce it come through. When it does, the eQ1 will make its way here in fully-imported CBU form, as local assembly operations are slated to commence only with regular internal combustion engine vehicle models, the company said.
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