We always knew that Shanghai-based Aiways was going to be delivering its eye-catching U5 around August, but the order books had remained firmly shut. It now seems that you will be able to secure your vehicle very soon. WhichEV ponders when shipment to the UK might take place and at what exchange rate?
Aiways is to start taking online orders for its U5 all-electric SUV from European consumers at the end of April. Secured via a small deposit, the U5 will be offered exclusively via a direct-to-customer sales model and not retailed or leased through traditional dealerships. Which markets and how much it will cost will be revealed within a couple of weeks.
Alexander Klose, Executive VP Overseas Operation at Aiways, said: “Online pre-sales represents the next important phase of Aiways’ entry into the European market. It will be an affordable, long-range, high-tech and well-equipped electric SUV.”
The tech spec is fairly straightforward, with a 140 kW electric motor on the front axle, generating 140 kW/197 bhp with a torque of 315 Nm. The quick-charge function allows the 63kWh battery to hit 80% in less than 30 minutes with a commercial DC charger. Aiways is claiming a range of up to 250 miles (400km).
The pandemic delayed Aiways' plans, but everything is now ramping back up – and full production for the European version of the U5 will start in July 2020.
Judging from the company's statements, the period of enforced ‘contactless retail' is actually playing to their strengths. More details about the new Aiways online platforms and ‘seamless digital experiences' will follow shortly.
The More Adaptable Structure (MAS) platform used by the U5 is also shared by the U6ion (U6) crossover coupe concept car, pictured below. The combination of lightweight motor, battery pack and interior should make for decent performance with all Aiways models.
Looks wise, the up-coming range from Aiways will be emanating from a design studio in Japan, run by Ken Okuyama. He was previously a designer for Pininfarina, GM and Porsche – but now has the rather interesting title of Chief Adviser of Design & Art for Aiways.
European safety standards can be higher than in other parts of the world. Aiways Chief Technical Officer, Winter Wang, said: “Incorporating advanced safety and convenience systems into our vehicles was a priority from the beginning. These features are particularly appreciated by European customers. We're integrating a features list to rival the most forward-thinking and pioneering automotive brands in the world. It brings these technologies together in a sporty design that will resonate with a youthful and active audience.”
Although we're anticipating it to be around €29,000 and available in mainland Europe first, we'll let you know when specific pricing has been announced and the website is ready to take orders ‘live'. If the price is right, the support mechanism ready and leasing companies open for business, things will be interesting for European, Japanese and American manufacturers in 2021.