Lured by the exuberance of its specifications rather than its low price, Great Wall Motor (GWM) launches its plug-in SUV, the WEY 03.
Last month we were invited by another Chinese company, the GWMin order to get to know its range, and especially the small and medium ones SUV of, the plug–in hybrid WEY 03which it is expected to be introduced in our country in 2024. The presentation of the car took place in the Italian capital. “Rome was not built in a day”, characteristically commented Brand & Mmarketing Director Europe GWMThiemo Jahnke, who also introduced us to the plan to electrify the company’s range, with the prospect that it will consist exclusively of electric and rechargeable electrics by 2030.
In the context of this design, the GWM founded the company in 2018 STARVED, with the aim of producing batteries. SVOLT currently has nine research centers and thirteen factories. In fact, in mid-2024 a battery production plant will be built in Germany, taking advantage of synergies with other car manufacturers, including Stellar and the BMW.
The market landscape
But how attractive is the current situation in the European market for the entry of a new brand? In this case, as far as its electric models are concerned GWMthese are favored by the rapid rise in sales of the specific category, while in the case of plug–in hybrids the relative change is determined to be an increase of 10%. Among the difficulties presented by the current car market environment, note inflation and intense competition from the entry of new companies, mainly from China. So, let’s see how the company intends to make its hybrid models enticing – what is certain is that it will not be based on a lower price compared to the competition.
The plug-ins WEY 03 and 05 are based on the same platform that has evolved from the GWM to host plug-in hybrid ensembles, with the second model being 20cm longer. As for the WEY 03, which we had the opportunity to drive on routes around Rome, it is not aimed at the premium class, although it has similar equipment features. The company sees them as competitors VW Τiguan, Kia Sportage and Cupra Formentorwhile in terms of price the car is closer to the Mercedes GLA and Volvo XC40. Based on the Greek data, we would still place opposite to WEY 03 the Toyota RAV4 and DS7.
The way the company thinks it’s going to make it enticing to the class-buying public has to do with the exuberance of its specs. Thus, with a length of 4,668 mm, which corresponds to a car in the largest category, and a wheelbase of 2,745 mm, it promises spaciousness for its passengers. Also, under its hood is a 2-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, and, combined with the hybrid system, the maximum power of the two-wheeled version reaches 367 hp and the four-wheeled version 442!
End, the battery of 34 kWh ensures an impressive electric range of 136 kilometers (124 km in the two-wheel drive version), which places it at the top of the plug–in in terms of range and therefore makes it highly competitive in terms of consumption and emissions CO2, the prices of which are respectively set for both versions at 0.5 lt./100 km and 15 g/km. At the same time, the car has the possibility of charging in alternating current at 11 kW and in direct current at 50 kWthat is, it is one of the few plug–in which can be charged on a fast charger.
Both outside and inside its cabin, the WEY 03 features a modern and clean design. In the interior, the quality of the materials impresses, with the linings being made of fabric and alcantara, while there is extensive sound insulation in all parts of the body. The 14.6-inch screen dominates the center of the dashboard, while the driver has a head-up display and a 9.7-inch electronic instrument panel in front of him. Additionally, below the central screen, we find an additional 9-inch screen for the operation of the air conditioner. It’s something we’ve seen for the first time in some premium brands, but in any case we don’t consider it a viable option over classic analog switches.
The spaces in the back seat are very large, with the one for the heads even more impressive. As for the trunk, its capacity is limited to 352 liters (due to the large battery), while access to it is characterized by the high loading threshold.
The car proves to be particularly quiet on the road, even at high speeds. At gentle speeds, the engine pairs perfectly with the dual-clutch 9-speed gearbox, however it proves slow to respond when the driver kicks down, even in Sport mode. Then, of course, the great power of the hybrid system ensures the expected acceleration (0-100 km/h in 5.3 or 7.3 for the four-wheel and two-wheel versions).
Among the “minuses” from this first contact, note the hard suspension, something to be expected due to the increased weight (2,100-2,220 kg) of construction, the image from the 360-degree camera, which occupies the central screen at slow speeds thus obscuring the instructions of the navigation system, and the modest information of the steering system about the position of the straight line.
The promised long electric range, however, is something that is also confirmed in practice. This fact, combined with the possibility of fast charging, ensures low consumption during the trip, while the prospective buyer will still count on the large spaces, the rich equipment and the powerful hybrid system. Finally, the car is covered by a 5-year warranty with unlimited kilometers, and the battery with 8 years and 160,000 kilometers._ M. S.
GWM WEY 03
PROPULSION SYSTEM: d/c + d/c >DISPLACEMENT (d/c): 1,998 cc >POWER (w/c): 204 hp >TORQUE (w/c): 320 Nm/r.p.m. >POWER (front engine): 163 hp >TORQUE (front engine): 325 Nm >POWER (rear engine): 184 hp (-) >TORQUE (rear engine): 232 Nm (-) >COMBINED POWER: 442 hp (367) >COMBINED TORQUE: 685 Nm (500) >DRIVE: Four-wheel drive (front wheels) >GEARBOX: 9-speed dual clutch >BATTERY: 34 kWh >LENGTHxPLxH.: 4,668×1,890×1,730 mm. >WHEEL BASE: 2,745 mm >LUGGAGE SPACE: 352-1,289 liters >WEIGHT: 2,220 kg (2,100) >0-100 KM/H: 5.3 sec. (7.3) >TOP SPEED: 230 km/h >AVERAGE CONSUMPTION: 0.5 l/100 km >CO2 EMISSION: 15 g/km. > ELECTRICITY AYTONOMIA: 136 km (124) >CHARGING (AC): 11 kW >CHARGE (DC): 50 kW
In parentheses are the prices of the two-wheeled version.
Who is GWM;
Headquartered in Baoding -two hours drive from Beijing-, the Great Wall started in 1984 manufacturing trucks and then, from the 90s, passenger cars. Today the Great Wall Motor has an annual production exceeding 1,000,000 cars, of which 600,000 belong to the category of SUV (the GWM is the leading manufacturer SUV in China), exporting to sixty markets. It has a staff of 78,000 employees, nine research and development centers and five more research and development centers for software development.
THE GWM is made up in the Chinese market of five sub-brands, specializing in specific vehicle categories. Thus, Ora manufactures electric cars, the WEY and Haval focus on SUVTank in purebred off-road cars and Poer in pick-ups. The Chinese giant had already expressed last year its intention to be active in the European market, but it delayed until it redefines its image and the way it will address the European consumer. Thus, it was decided that the company’s sub-brands will not come independently, but will be part of a single range, under its umbrella GWM.
The distribution of its cars GWM in Europe it had already started a few years ago in selected countries with electric Ora Funky Cat, a compact electric car with a length of 4.2 m and a strong personality. It is worth pointing out that the new one will be based on the same floor e–Miniin the framework of consortium Spotlightwhich was introduced between Great Wall and BMW.
Now, now, with the creation of a single range under the name “GWM“, the Ora Funky Cat was renamed ‘Ora 03’. A sedan with a correspondingly sophisticated design, the Ora 07, will soon follow, while in 2025 the electric range will be completed by a C–SUVthe Ora 5.
Next to the electrics Notthe GWM lines up a range of plug-in hybrid SUVs, now made up of the upper mainstream C–SUVWEY 03, and the larger WEY 05. All this transformation delayed the Chinese company’s European expansion by a few months, but now things seem to be moving at a faster pace. Thus, in 2024 GWM will be represented in eleven more countries, including ours, but there is no more information about who will take over the representation.