Get ready for a GMC Hummer EV rival out of China.
Chinese automaker Dongfeng has announced it’ll introduce a new “high-end electric off-road brand”, which is being referred to as M.
It’ll feature what’s being referred to in state media as a “pure electric version of the Warrior”, a Humvee-inspired military vehicle which recently received a civilian version, the M50.
It’s codenamed M18-1 and is set for launch in 2023, and will reportedly be followed by the M18-2 and M18-3.
Car News China reports all will use a new dedicated electric vehicle platform.
Reports out of China indicate it’ll feature a 140kWh battery pack, with power consumption of 26kWh/100km and 500km of range – likely on the more generous CLTC or NEDC test cycles.
The burly off-roader will reportedly produce 800kW of power, which will take it from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds.
The GMC Hummer EV produces up to 745kW in Edition 1 guise, which also boasts a sub-4 second 0-100km/h time and uses a 200kWh battery.
It’s unclear precisely how closely the M18-1 will resemble the Warrior M50, a beastly off-roader with 380mm of ground clearance and a 4.0-litre turbo-diesel Cummins V8 under its long bonnet.
The Warrior M50 is around 5.3m long but the M18-1 will reportedly measure 5.2m long, or around 25mm longer than a Nissan Patrol.
In a twist for a large EV, where battery packs can add a lot of bulk, the M18-1 will reportedly weigh 3100kg, 380kg less than the Warrior M50. That’s also almost a tonne less than a GMC Hummer EV Edition 1.
The M18-1 will reportedly be priced between 600-700,000 RMB (A$132-157,000).
Production will take place at a new 485-acre facility at which Dongfeng broke ground in January, and which the company says will have an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles.
The SUV craze has well and truly swept sedan-loving China, with Dongfeng the latest automaker to introduce a rugged SUV brand after Great Wall Motors (Tank).
Chery’s Jetour brand, too, is planning a line of rugged SUVs under the T-Series nameplate.
State-owned Dongfeng is considered one of the Chinese Big 4 automakers with Changan, FAW Group and SAIC Motor, the latter the parent company of MG and LDV among other brands.
It has joint ventures with Nissan (Dongfeng Nissan), Honda (Dongfeng Honda) and Stellantis (Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen).
With Korean car sales declining in China, Dongfeng sold its stake in the joint venture Dongfeng Yueda Kia in late 2021.
Another joint venture, Dongfeng Renault, was dissolved the previous year.
Outside of those joint ventures, Dongfeng introduced a premium “new energy” brand in 2021 with the peculiar name of Voyah.
The Free is a large crossover available with either plug-in hybrid or all-electric powertrains, while the Dreamer is an upscale electric people mover.
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