China’s Tesla Fighter Is Aiways U6ion EV: Can It Compete?
It’s just a matter of time until China invades our shores with interesting and less-expensive vehicles in all segments. Some think it might be by the end of 2020. The latest to pique our interest is the Aiways U6ion crossover. Right now it’s a concept but it sure looks like it’s production-ready. It’s based on Aiways’ U5 EV crossover. With the EV platform the basis for the U6 you can see how it could be a thinly disguised production vehicle. You can also see that it’s taking aim at the Tesla Model Y and Mustang Mach-E. Can it compete with those EVs?
Before you dismiss the U6 there’s a Pininfarina connection
Before you dismiss the U6 here’s a couple of things to keep in mind. It was designed by former Pininfarina Design head Ken Okuyama. While at Pininfarina he penned the Ferrari Enzo. You remember Enzo, right? So there’s that.
The other point, and partially as a result of Okuyama, the drag coefficient for the U6 is 0.27. That’s shy of the Model Y’s 0.23 but still worth noting as aerodynamics plays a major role in EV efficiency. As another example, the Chevy Bolt has a CD of 0.32 for comparison.
The U6 has shark fins front and rear for inducing airflow separation for better aero
To that end, note the shark fins and lipped edges both up front and at the rear to increase the separation of airflow which helps in reducing drag. That combined with the 185 hp output of the U5 that underpins the effort should combine to get an easy 300-mile range or more. At this writing, Aiways hadn’t released actual figures.
Under the headlights are vents that direct air directly to the brakes. We don’t know whether this is something Aiways had to address or is just a bit of backup for overheated brakes. You would think that the air would be shot at the battery packs as those do need cooling in many cases.
The retro-future rectangle steering wheel looks cool but won’t make it to production
We love the aircraft-like multi-function rectangular steering wheel, though we would be highly surprised if this saw production. We doubt that federal US collision mandates would allow for those horns at the top of a steering wheel. Who knows? Behind it is a seven-inch screen for essential functions on the U6.
Also looking like it’s from an aircraft is the “grip shift” drive selector in the console. The 14.6-inch infotainment touchscreen is smack, dab in the middle of the instrument panel which itself is pretty much devoid of a lot of gingerbread.
There is also a “little robot” hidden inside of the dash for you to talk to
Aiways has buried what it calls a “little robot” which it says is a “human-machine interface with advanced recognition” that both talks and listens to occupants. It’s for entertainment-related functions inside of the U6. Will whatever happens in the U6 stay in the U6?
Instead of the usual accommodation for five occupants, the U6 has four captains chairs. Keep in mind that as mentioned this is a concept so the captain’s chairs are more interesting than booth seating in the rear. We would expect that in production this might possibly be an option?
We like the looks of the U6, even down to the 21-inch wheels. We could imagine these blowing around the streets and freeways of Biscuit’s digs in Los Angeles. Whether that happens we won’t know but it shows that China is serious about producing high-quality, high-design offerings to test our interests.