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2020 Aiways U5

As an ordinary newspaper and Internet reader, you are groping in the dark for a long time, but at some point the statements, seemingly without context, grow together into a comprehensible unit. What is meant here is the overland 'Silk Road' from Beijing to Duisburg, for example, which was pursued with such vigour by the Chinese, who gave subsidies to intermediate countries in order to make a rapid progress.

We asked ourselves what our eastern almost-neighbour actually wanted, when in the meantime even ship piracy seems to have been mastered. The main argument for this route construction seem to be delivery times, which in the first approximation shrink to at least half. These are very important for vehicles as long as they are produced exclusively in China.

This is because cars are carefully selected by customers and cannot, in principle, be appropriately pre-produced. No, the Chinese manufacturers will also have surcharge lists, because they make the most money. No, making the customers wait can turn out badly. We still suspect that the rather sudden elimination of the supply bottleneck for the Tesla Model 3 was not only due to the higher production capacity but also to the withdrawal of orders.

So here it is, the first Chinese e-car on the European market. No, not as a prototype, but for sale from summer 2020 on. How was it designed? Big you could say, for a the widest possible group of interested people. If the Skoda Superb was previously considered a vehicle with really enough space, the Aiways U5 surpasses it. However, this has its price, not because of the length of approx. 4.7 m, especially not because of the wheelbase of 2.8 m, but probably at a height of 1.7 m.

Of course this costs range, so the cW value can be as good as it is. After all it has 63 kWh battery capacity on board. Again such an unrealistic value of more than 400 km range. The manufacturer himself states an average of 17 kW/100km, which would result in 'only' 370 km even with the optimistic assumption that the 63 kWh are net values. You can assume that even this value is usually not reached.

But that's how everybody does it. And why should the newcomer deviate from this and then, with his more honest values, repeatedly come off badly against the established in the all devouring press? And still they have arrows in their quivers. For example, there is the battery supplier CATL, which has been making headlines again and again recently, whether it's building a factory in Germany or even pulling one or the other electrical manufacturer on its side.

And then there is one thing that is particularly close to our hearts, because we have already launched a proposal in a similar form in 2012, namely the idea of a rental battery. For Aiways, this starts with the decision to use front-wheel drive. So don't, as with VW, drive around with a hollow in the front just because you didn't order four-wheel drive. So a cavity is created under the flat loading area at the rear, by the way, in the front there is also a small room, too.

But here too, at least that's what we are promised at the presentation, not a compartment that can be used for cables at most, but the possible location for an additional 20 kWh rental battery, which can then be obtained or even handed in at any petrol station. This is the real answer to the question of how much battery capacity you need and how much you can afford when you buy a new car.

Did everything go right? Is impossible when designing a first vehicle on a completely new platform in only three (!) years. At Aiways, the NCAP test has only three stars be a flop. They claim it was due to the difficulty of recognising road signs in Britain. But NCAP never would take away two stars for this if happened. And the middle touchscreen seems not to be the fastest. After all there is a kind of triptych behind the steering wheel and 12.3 inches tall in the middle.

We don't want offending the Teslas, but a loading flap in the front is simply more practical, because even in a garage you drive in with the front first and out backwards not only because of the exhaust fumes. The alleged loading capacity of 100 kW and its staying power will certainly be a subject of some youtuber. And whether the three stages of recuperation are sufficient and sufficiently spread.

We prefer to turn to a promise made by the manufacturers of electric cars, the lower maintenance costs. For the first time it seems that one of them is taking this seriously, because Aiways promises intervals of 100,000 km, although with ATU they have a partner who would certainly like to have the cars in their workshops more often. You'll see how this fits in with the service for the air conditioning system, for example.

And then there is a new sales concept. Euronics, as a buying syndicate for electrical appliances, fits in well with such a car here and, incidentally, in France. Certainly the accessibility will be much better than at Tesla. But you will see how well the separation of sales and workshop works out. But one thing is certain: if only 90 percent of the dreams of Aiways come true, the high price level of the German automotive industry will have to be reconsidered.

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