GAC Enverge: the futuristic concept car from a company you’ve never heard of
Chinese car maker GAC Motor came back to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with three new vehicles, including the futuristic concept car which promises to conquer the West, especially young buyers.
Along with trendy features such as a voice-controlled start-up and virtual reality technology for passengers, the Enverge plans reaching the hearts and minds of younger buyers by the design.
The Nissan Qashqai-sized electric SUV seems to have no windows which makes the car look at least unusual and seems awkward at first glance. It turns out that the exterior is displayed on the matte windows, the concept, on which the hopes of the designers are riveted.
Two doors give access to the four seats inside what the brand terms a ‘floating space capsule’ inspired interior. The cabin design features a horizontal display screen and VR technology but the most unusual feature is the glazing, or lack of it.
Silver paintwork appears where the side windows would traditionally be, giving the concept a highly unconventional appearance. To get around the lack of side glass, and help with visibility, rear-facing cameras have been installed in place of wing mirrors.
The second thing you would probably notice are the massive ports on the front bumper.
Looking like they are installed for cooling, they're actually removable fog lamps. Called G-Torches, they double as flashlights for when you want to do some off-trail exploring.
Then there's the race-inspired steering wheel, and the gull-wing doors that look like they'll make getting in and out of the vehicle a cinch, regardless of if you're sitting in the front or back seat.
As far as power goes, the car uses an electric powertrain with a 71kWh battery. It sends 235bhp and 302lb ft of torque to all four wheels, enabling a claimed 4.4sec 0-62mph time and 99mph top speed. The Enverge is also said to be capable of 373 miles to one charge.
The Enverge turns out to be the bargaining chip of GAC Motor. The state-owned company, which operates the Gonow and Trumpchi brands, confirmed in November plans to enter the United States by the end of 2019 with the GS8 mid-size SUV.
GAC said it has designed its Enverge to be popular with “young people of North America”, suggesting it would inspire a production version aimed at becoming a volume seller for the brand.
GAC design chief Zhang Fan recently told Autocar: “When you create a new brand, you can set it at a certain height, start there and then move it up”, hinting at the prospect of higher-ranking models after the brand’s first US car, and the importance of launching with a credible, desirable product to begin with.
GAC Motor is also planning to build a research and development facility in the Detroit area, and last year established a Silicon Valley R&D center. While Chinese automakers have talked about selling cars in the United States for many years, none of them has done it yet, partly due to U.S. safety and emissions standards and requirements to establish dealer networks here. As for GAC Motor, they’ve already been planning to enter the US market by 2017 and 2018.