Bumper crop of announcements from Beijing Motor Show

All eyes are on China when it comes to innovation in EVs.  So, while the Beijing Motor Show isn’t yet considered one of the so-called Big Five in the world, you could argue that it’s probably right up there in terms of importance.

This year’s show reflected the huge pace of change in the auto industry with a vast number of car launches, new tech announcements and other news.  

Here are 10 of the most important unveilings:

  1. Zeekr MIX – An electric multi-purpose vehicle from Zeekr with swiveling front seats that can transform the interior into a compact room when parked.
  2. BYD Yangwang U8 Off-road Master Edition – A high-end SUV from BYD that can float for up to 30 minutes, turn 360 degrees, and even has an optional built-in drone. 
  3. Xiaomi SU7 – An electric SUV from smartphone maker Xiaomi that promises a 500-mile range and 15-minute full charging, starting at $30,000.
  4. Volkswagen ID.Code 01 – A concept electric SUV from Volkswagen featuring interactive exterior lighting, a virtual assistant, and hints of future autonomous driving capabilities.

The official ‘walk-around’ of the Yangwang U8

  1. Xpeng AeroHT – An electric flying car prototype from Xpeng that the company says is close to receiving regulatory approval.
  2. Exeed 08 – An electric multi-purpose vehicle from Chery’s Exeed brand offering pure electric and extended-range hybrid options, spacious interiors, and an aerodynamic design.
  3. Dongfeng eπ 008 – A 6-seat electric SUV from Dongfeng with plug-in hybrid and battery variants, featuring a modern, matrix-style lighting design.
  4. Smart #5 Concept – A mid-sized electric SUV concept from Smart, marking a departure from the brand’s tiny car roots and focusing on practicality and adventure.
  5. Mercedes-Benz G-Class EV – The first electric version of Mercedes’ iconic G-Wagon off-roader, set to launch in China later this year.
  6. Chery iCar V23 – The second mass-produced model from Chery’s iCar brand, available in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options with up to 500km of range.
Focus on BYD

It’s also worth a deeper look at the seemingly unstoppable BYD, which overtook Tesla as the world’s largest EV producer during the fourth quarter of 2023.  It’s also the clear leader in China, with absolutely no sign of relinquishing that title any time soon.  

BYD’s announcements during the Beijing show included the introduction of its intelligent connected system DiLink. It also announced that it would offer open-sourcing of its e-Platform technology, of which DiLink is a part. The company says this will enable more effective innovation across the industry.

Wang Chuanfu, President and Chairman of BYD, said: “We are proud that a Chinese company such as BYD is paving the way for a new era of automotive history yet again, a decade after we redefined automobile performance and safety with the release of our DM platform. We believe that this collective effort will push the e-Platform to even greater heights, and accelerate the world’s adoption of an electric future.”

BYD also announced an all-new Tang series of SUV hybrid vehicles.

Then came the launch of BYD’s premium Denza brand’s first sedan model, the Denza Z9GT, to challenge established luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz (which is incidentally a 10% shareholder in the project).

And for those looking for a top of the range vehicle, as mentioned previously, BYD’s ultra-luxury Yangwang brand brought the U8 Off-road Master Edition along with the U9 sports car priced over 1 million yuan (around $140,000).  

BYD also launched off-road brand Fangchengbao to rival Jeep, Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota’s Land Cruiser.

Wang Chuanfu, President and Chairman of BYD speaks at the BYD gala in Beijing.

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23 May, 2024