Great Wall is doing just fine in Europe even though availability is limited to a handful of markets. SUVs and pickups are the Chinese automaker’s specialty, and for this edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show, the engineers at Great Wall Motors Company were allowed to go a bit crazier than expected.
Before anything, we should mention that the Wey-X and Wey-S are called Wey because that’s the brand Great Wall plans to electrify in the first instance. Haval is another brand of the Chinese automaker, and you can buy utility vehicles from them in eastern markets such as Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine.
Wey started out in 2016 in the Middle Kingdom, and the current range of models consists of three SUVs. The W and S exhibited in Frankfurt are both concepts, and the former dates back to the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. It’s the S that captured our attention the most because it previews the next Wey VV5.
“Hold on, what’s that VV5 you’re talking about?” In a nutshell, the compact crossover that was known as 02 during development is the best-selling Wey in China at the present moment, related to the VV7 and Haval H6. But as opposed to the ICE-only production model, the Wey-S concept is an all-electric affair described as “dynamic and fashionable” by its designers.
The S further introduces the “Pioneer Tension Aesthetics” styling language, which incorporates slender LED headlamps, an enclosed grille up front, flush door handles, and cameras instead of conventional side mirrors. A freestanding infotainment and digital instrument cluster are the strongest points of the interior, and now, let’s talk about what hides under the skin.
Two electric motors, all-wheel drive, and close to 350 horsepower help the Wey-S accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds. The lithium-ion battery is good for 400 kilometers (250 miles) in one go, and Level 4 semi-autonomous driving technologies round off the list of tech-savvy features.
Turning our attention onto the Wey-X, the older of the two concepts is a Level 5 autonomous vehicle according to Great Wall Motors. That’s a funny claim to make given that no automaker out there has mastered Level 5, more so if you remember this level of automation is hard to roll out to retail customers. Many CEOs from big players in the industry such as the Ford Motor Company announced that Level 5 autonomy has proven more complex than they originally thought.
The Wey-X also fares better in terms of performance (4.5 seconds to 100 km/h) and range (510 kilometers or 371 miles) than the S, but until further notice, a concept remains a concept. That Chinese invasion of Europe with dirt-cheap electric vehicles will have to wait a bit longer, don’t you think?