A new competitor for European and US car manufacturers is coming from China. The company Li Auto wants to offer a lot of cars at a small price. If you take a look at the exciting SUVs, the plan could work out.
Li Auto could become a threat to VW and Co
The Chinese market is exceedingly interesting and vital for car manufacturers from Europe. In particular, traditional German companies such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes Benz have always relied on selling high-priced vehicles in the Far East. With growing prosperity in China, they have also been able to make tidy profits in the luxury segment. But conversely, Chinese manufacturers are also increasingly pushing into the Western market. This is also the case with Li Auto. It now has a luxurious SUV in the pipeline at a really competitive price.
With its range extender, Li Auto offers a really exciting unique selling point. In a way, this is a kind of lifeline. In case the battery of the vehicle gives up the ghost, the Li One is equipped with a gasoline tank and a suitable engine. This is intended to bridge the gap to the next charging station and prevent the vehicle from stalling on the route. Especially in regions like Germany, where the lack of charging stations is not keeping pace with the registration numbers of e-cars, this model should be really interesting.
An SUV on a grand scale
Strictly speaking, then, the Li One is not an all-electric vehicle at all, but a classic hybrid. Given the SUV’s large dimensions, it forms a serious competitor to bolides like the BMW X5. While both vehicles are similar in size, they differ significantly in terms of price. Li Auto, for example, charges the equivalent of just under 45,000 euros for its SUV equipped with two electric motors.
The base price of the BMW X5 in the People’s Republic, on the other hand, is almost double that at 82,000 euros. But while the X5 is really only available as a classic hybrid, the Li One offers electric power through and through, except for its small gasoline tank. The electric motors have an output of 100 kW and 140 kW. Unlike common plug-in hybrids, the installed battery doesn’t just offer a range of about 60 km either. Here, 180 km should be possible.
Li car finally comes with second car
Chinese car brands are notorious for a wide product range, which is being expanded particularly quickly. At CES 2023, for example, BYD announced two new upcoming models, the U8 and U9, and set out to overtake Toyota to soon become the world’s largest car brand. Li Auto is quite different from its Chinese competitors in this regard, after all. After all, the company had just one model on offer, its Li One. And that for two and a half years. Now, however, the manufacturer has finally presented its second vehicle, the L9.
It comes in the form of a large SUV and is clearly reminiscent of the Li One in terms of technology. Two electric motors are at work here as well, but they are somewhat stronger at 125 kW and 200 kW. They are again supported by a range extender in the form of an internal combustion engine. The range of 215 km is slightly longer than that of the Li One. However, anyone who dares to visit a gas station will be more than impressed by the range. With a full tank of gasoline and a full battery, it should be possible to drive almost 1,300 km – impressive. This also seemed to go down well with potential buyers. After all, the new vehicle sold significantly better than it did with the Li One.
No chance for German brands
Compared to BMW, Audi and the like, the L9 also scores points primarily with its price. The huge vehicle costs the equivalent of just under 63,000 euros. Of course, that’s a lot of money. But if you take a look at comparable vehicles from German production, it seems almost laughable. A similarly sized BMW X7 costs at least 97,000 euros. If this is roughly aligned with the equipment of the L9, one easily ends up at around just under 170,000 euros. Many customers in China are no longer willing to pay that. After all, for many years it was simply the lack of alternatives that drove potential buyers into the arms of the expensive German makes. In the meantime, however, the Chinese automotive industry is itself broadly positioned and is even ahead in some respects.
Especially in terms of electric mobility, Chinese brands are now world leaders. The L9 is to be joined by a somewhat smaller SUV, the L8, which is to cost the equivalent of just under 54,000 euros. It also has the range extender and is supposed to offer a similar range. It is therefore not surprising that Western carmakers are increasingly concerned about the important Chinese sales market. So not only VW announced a few days ago to change its China strategy a bit. On top of that, Tesla and Mercedes Benz have also lowered the prices of their electric vehicles in China. The fear of being left behind by the competition from the People’s Republic is too great.