Without doubt, the best show of its kind – and we’re lucky enough to have it in the UK – twice. After packing up shop on 30th April, Robert Llewellyn’s team head for Harrogate to run the same event for the north. If you are starting to get curious about electric vehicles, are in the process of buying, already have one and want to see what’s new in the market or just fancy being around thousands of like-minded individuals, then we definitely recommend you try the Live Show.
Set in the grounds and buildings around Farnborough Airfield, the first major outdoor exhibit puts lots of ‘coming soon’ vehicles under one roof. Some are ready to shop while others are so new, they don’t have interiors yet. While perennial favourites like the brand new Vauxhall Astra Electric were getting a decent amount of attention, it was hard to get a photo of the Fisker Ocean – with visitors all over the new American entrant to the market.
The ‘all eyes on me please' product in the newby zone was the Aehra. Classed as an SUV, this futuristic design stands out a mile. Billed as combining Italian design with global engineering and American customer service – the prototype sample on show came from a team led by Franco Cimatti, who spent 32 years with Ferrari and was Chief Engineer for Lotus. So, maybe, we shouldn’t be surprised by the amazing exterior of this car. Expect a limited production run of 20,000 units with a price tag close to £150,000 for this Aehra. Although we managed to shoot the placeholder interior, we were still left to wonder what the final design will look like.
The BYD stand also had no problem pulling in the crowds. As the only company on the planet capable of standing toe-to-toe with Tesla when it comes to selling large volumes of electric vehicles, Fully Charged gave the Buffett-backed business a chance to get public feedback on its ATTO 3 and Dolphin products. These shots are the outside and interior of a UK production version of the ATTO 3.
Below is the Dolphin. There were people all over it while we were talking with the experts from BYD. They had a valet on hand, making good use of his Mr Muscle and polishing cloth all the time. We’ll go into more depth about these vehicles in a future article but, for now, we will say that both cars are well built, comfortable, have a strong set of features and are likely to be price-competitive against products like the ID.3. The ATTO 3 is already lined up for leasing through Octopus.
Subaru had the Solterra on show, in a striking red. With a look and feel that's reminiscent of the memes about Ferrari spending untold millions to create a Mazda MX-30, the Solterra offers many of the same angles and the contrasting red/black exterior. However, once you check out the boot and interior, you realise that this particular Japanese manufacturer actually has products like the Volvo XC40 directly in its sites. With an on-the-road price close to £53,000, WLTP of 257 miles and a 0-to-60 of less than 7 seconds, this all-wheel drive design should be an interesting option in a crowded market sector. If you chose a similar equipment/performance level from Volvo, then it would cost you a few thousand more. More about this vehicle when we get hands on later this month.
The last car we want to mention in this overview of the Fully Charged Live show, is the rather stunning ‘New Cat' offering from Ora – the EV specialist division of Chinese manufacturing giant, Great Wall. It will have a cool name when it launches later this year, but for now all we know is that the code name is EC24 and that any resemblance to Porsche is purely coincidental. Although we were also told that a senior designer from Porsche had been recruited into the Ora team at Great Wall. Comparisons with other vehicles will be drawn when the ‘New Cat’ is shown in standard colours from black to white, but with this lilac exterior with a burnt orange interior, it’s a complete head-turner and looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s likely to develop close to 400 bhp and include a battery large enough to give it a WLTP over 300 miles. Slower/plainer versions will also come to market.
The ‘New Cat’ is unlikely to tread on Porsche’s toes when it comes to its potential customer base – but you can see how Hyundai etc will be facing a new challenger to the Ionoq 6. The interior is closer in look and feel to a high-quality Genesis interior than most other cars in this class. You have to wonder if it will manage to land in UK showrooms for less than £50,000?
One last area worth mentioning is the AA stand. Really friendly/knowledgeable personnel on hand to answer questions and we found the company’s strategy for EV to be quite fascinating. Inside the AA, they have dedicated personnel for every car maker. Their job is to decide, in partnership, the best way to assist/rescue every member – based on specific procedures for each car. That database on knowledge is instantly available to the AA’s rescue staff – so they send the right vehicle to the right member every time. Inside their new EV-rescue vehicles, they have 15kWh of space battery – ready to give 3kWh to any stranded driver who needs it. That should be enough to get the member to a chargepoint if they run out of juice.
Other rescue vehicles are available in case an actual ‘tow’ is needed. “But what about damage to my motor/dynamos if I get towed?”, we hear you ask. Not to worry, the new rescue vans contain ‘Freewheeling Hubs' (swap out wheels) for the rear of your car, allowing the front to be ‘picked up’ by a rescue vehicle – so your car can be saved in the traditional way.
Inside the main halls, you have every major charger manufacturer, energy supplier and accessory company just waiting to tell you about their latest deals. Below you can see the show's founder, Robert ‘Kryten' Llewellyn interviewing Gill Howell from ElectriX – as well as the huge Octopus stand, where EV tariff experts are standing by to show you how much you can save by moving away from petrol/diesel.
If you haven’t seen Fully Charged Live, we recommend you get along to Harrogate later in May.