The Cheapest Electric Car In The World

Ora R 1 electric car

One Of The Key Obstacles To Mass Market EV Adoption Has Been The Pricing Of Electric Cars.  Has The Chinese Automotive Manufacturer Potentially Cracked It? 


  • The Great Wall Motors (GWM) automobile company is a leading sports utility vehicle (SUV) manufacturer in China.  Headquartered in Hebei, China, the automotive manufacturer was established in 1984.
  • The company is also a leading pick-up manufacturer and is named after the Great Wall of China.  
  • The two major brands of the company are Haval and Great Wall.  However the company also has two sub-brands Ora and Wey. The company is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (2013) and the Shanghai Stock Exchange (2011).  Apart from SUV’s and pick-up trucks, the company is also active in the passenger car segment. In December 2019 the company announced the roll out of its three millionth vehicle. 
  • The company unveiled its flagship EV, the Ora R 1 under its new electric car brand Ora.
Ora R 1 electric car
The Ora R 1 All-Electric Car (credit: Ora)
  •  The four-door Ora R1 has a 33 kWh EV battery with a claimed zero-emission range of 194 miles (NEDC) on a single charge. The EV is capable of fast charging, achieving up to 80% charge in 40 minutes. The EV will have a single 35 kW electric motor and a top speed of 62 miles per hour. 
  • The EV will feature advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and connectivity.  The company is also aiming to change the buying process and experience.   According to the company “As a new market entrant, ORA 1 delivers an unprecedented experience to drivers. ORA replaces the traditional sales, service, spare parts and surveys dealership-centred model that is common in China with a network consisting of  ORA home experience centres, and smart outlets in the central business districts of Chinese cities. 
  • The battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is targeted for urban drivers.  It is now on sale in China and is expected to be available in international markets in due course.  However, the company has announced its intention to launch the electric vehicle in India in 2020. 
Ora R 1 electric car
The Ora R 1 All-Electric Car (credit: Ora)
  • To encourage sales, the EV will also include three years free servicing or up to 120,000 kilometres. 
Ora R 1 electric car
The Ora R 1 All-Electric Car (credit: Ora)
  • What makes the ORA 1 exciting is its pricing.  In its home market, China, the electric car is priced at approximately US$ 8,600 (GBP 6,610) include the deduction of EV subsidies in China, making it the cheapest four-door all-electric car in the world.   In comparison, the two-seater Renault TWIZY start at £6,690.

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  • We certainly applaud the Chinese manufacturer for developing the cheapest electric car.  For mass-market and exponential adoption of EVs, pricing will remain a key factor.
  • However, it is too early to predict success for an EV like the ORA R1.  A few years ago, the leading Indian automotive company, TATA Motors (that also owns Jaguar Land Rover) had launched the cheapest internal combustion engine (ICE) car named the Tata Nano in its home market, India.  Despite its competitive pricing, the vehicle failed to attract customers, due to the model perception of being ‘cheap’.  
  • There is no doubt pricing will always remain a key determinant in the success of an EV model.  However, it is not the only factor.  Issues like build quality, performance, reliability etc. will always remain key parameters in consumers decision making process. 
  • We will have to wait and see if the efforts of GWM will translate into success, but we certainly wish them well. 
  • Do not expect this model to be available in the UK anytime soon!  

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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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