Great Wall's electric ute and its New Zealand power play
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Great Wall could become the first manufacturer to offer an electric-powered ute on the New Zealand market.
The Chinese manufacturer has said a Great Wall EV pickup has always been in its plan for right-hand-drive markets such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Although Great Wall has not said when an electric-powered ute would be introduced here, Chinese manufacturers see such a move as a good way to draw attention to their brand in such intensely competitive motor industry markets.
Until now, Great Wall has relied on the Steed pickup, and its fellow brand Haval SUVs, as its mainstay products in this market.
The Great Wall ute was relaunched here just over two years ago, and Motor Industry Association registration figures suggest there is an appetite for the basic low-cost ute in New Zealand.
During the first four months of this year there were between 27 and 33 Great Wall utes registered each month, meaning 123 in total had been sold by the end of April.
There are Fieldays specials on offer from Great Wall, with the wellside diesel 4x2 model for $17,383 plus GST and on road costs, and the single cab diesel 4x2, listed at $19,122 plus GST and orc. Both are powered by a 2-litre turbocharged diesel engine that puts out 110kW of power and 310Nm of torque.
Even the dual cab petrol 4x2 Great Wall Steed ute is on offer for $19,991, which includes a tub liner. It is powered by a 2.4-litre petrol engine putting out 110kW and 310Nm of torque.
Driven has tested the Great Wall utes, and found they offer a basic workhorse with a tray in the back and a radio up front.
Standard kit includes side steps, stainless steel sports bar, mirror-mounted indicators, tray liner with four heavy-duty tie-down points, tow bar and 16in alloy wheels with a full-size spare.
Inside the cabin are heated seats, cruise control, Bluetooth for phone and audio, tyre-pressure monitoring system, steel scuff plates and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The models have a payload of 1010kg and a braked towing capacity of 2000kg. The Great Wall Steed comes with a three-year, 100,000km warranty, including roadside assist.
Great Wall is not the only Chinese motor giant planning to introduce an electric vehicle here. MG has confirmed the eZS small SUV will be introduced in 2020.
Reports suggest Great Wall’s plug-in ute will offer 500km of range from its two-wheel drive powertrain. And a hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are also reportedly in Great Wall’s plans, along with a fuel-cell vehicle.