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What we have here is an SUV that converts into a pickup truck. Maybe not so novel if you consider the Chevrolet Avalanche from years past. But what is novel is that the Changan CD701 actually looks like an SUV in either form, unlike the Avalanche, which always looks like a pickup. A concept at the moment reveals what will most likely be the production E0 coming out next year.

How large is the Changan CD701 SUV?

Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV with sliding rear panel
Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV | Changan

The CD701 concept made its debut this week at the Changan Automobile Science and Technology Ecological Conference in China. It is a two-row EV that seats five. With its sliding rear cover, it converts from truck to SUV fairly easily and quickly. 

In the side view, it takes on the flavor of a smoothed-up Cybertruck. Interestingly, the upper looks almost identical to the 1970s Citroen SM. The fairly conventional fascia ditches a grille to, instead, feature a display advising the driver of how much charge is left in the battery and its range. 

How does the Changan CD701 convert from truck to SUV?

Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV showing interior layout
Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV | Changan

Being a concept, there are no door handles or side mirrors. We expect both for the production version, though the mirrors could be cameras instead. At the rear, there is also a digital display, though Changan fails to mention what it does. 

To create a pickup, press the button to slide the dual-mode rear glass panel forward up and over the roof. How easy is that? Inside, the cabin is fairly straightforward, with a head-up display removing any gauges or buttons. There is also a central infotainment screen on the dash. The steering wheel has a flat top or bottom, depending on how it is positioned. 

What does the “vehicle satellite communication” do?

Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV off-road
Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV | Changan

Changan is touting the CD701 as being the first to feature “vehicle satellite communication.” The advantage of this technology is that the vehicle can maintain global coverage and full-time internet without ever losing connectivity, according to CarNewsChina

Here is yet another innovative vehicle coming out of China. You may not have heard of Changan, but know that it sold over 1.6 million vehicles last year. Its plans are to bring out 10 more EVs over the next two years. Changan has a goal of building 5 million vehicles by the end of 2030. 

Why don’t American truckmakers make something like this?

Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV dash and screen
Changan CD701 concept pickup/SUV EV | Changan

The U.S. and Europe are frantically trying to scale up EV development, battery production, and chip manufacturing to catch up with China. The U.S. was once the largest supplier of microchips in the world. Then, the lure of cheaper labor in China meant lower costs for chips until it had a corner on the market. When shortages hit, both European and American automakers were left vulnerable.

It will take a few years to ramp up development and production. In the meantime, China has the luxury of refining design and development, as well as quality, to blanket the globe with its EVs. Introductions like the CD701 show it is honing in on features that resonate with car buyers worldwide. 


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