aboard the electric cat that would like to bite into the Fiat 500

On the occasion of the EVS35 exhibition in Oslo dedicated to electric cars, we were able to meet Ora Funky Cat from China. We boarded this future competitor to the Fiat 500 and Volkswagen ID.3 and came from there very enthusiastic! Expected arrival in France in the coming months.

Some cars are legendary and have characterized entire generations. This is the case with the Volkswagen Beetle, but also for the Fiat 500 or Mini Cooper. And precisely, the Ora Funky Cat is inspired, among other things, by these three models, to offer an affordable and compact, but very complete and very attractive electric car. In May 2022, the Chinese brand Ora from the GWM group announced the arrival of its Funky Cat model to the UK in the autumn of 2022.

The car will also be available in other European countries, and in particular in France. as confirmed by the brand present at the EVS35 trade fair in Oslo, but on a date not currently announced. Still, our encounter with Funky Cat was rich in lessons and discoveries. The Chinese brand presented three Funky Cats in different colors and finishes at its booth. We were thus entitled to the classic finish, but also to GT finish, for lovers of sportyalthough the differences between the two are only cosmetic.

Exterior design: a little compact

At least we are facing a car halfway between the compact and city car even though the exterior dimensions (4,235 x 1,825 x 1,603 mm) bring it closer to a Volkswagen ID.3 than to a Fiat 500. But it is true that its slightly neo-retro look with visual elements borrowed almost everywhere from the competition, it gives it more of a city car look than a compact one. Its round headlights at the front, reminiscent of a mix between a Mini and a Porsche, totally signify its tailgate, where a very long LED acts as a taillight.

On the GT version, there are diffusers under the front and rear bumpers as wella spoiler over the tailgate that adds a sporty temperament to the car. The sports finish also adds plastic wheel arches, which enhance the car’s silhouette. We have the impression of facing a sports car, although the interior reveals Funky Cat’s much more typical comfort character.

A colorful interior

Inside, precisely, the Chinese brand wanted to play it high-end. If you find the interior of a Fiat 500 a little too “plastic”, you will be delighted by the interior that Ora offers. The seats in faux leather, the material of which is found throughout the cabin (door sills, dashboard, armrests, etc.) give a cachet to the car with a very warm and very soft side. The colors of the Chinese brand (green, burgundy, gray, black) contribute to the vintage side of the whole. Especially since the finishes are careful and the use of well-made materials makes Oras Funky Cat a serious car.

The first thing that strikes you when you sit in the driver’s seat is legroom and width. We do not feel like we are in a compact car and the center console does not disturb the right knee at all. We feel comfortable, but with the feeling of having a city car in our hands rather than a road car, due to the lack of comfort element, as the center console is quite small and low. It is also on this center console that we find the wheel to select the different driving modes (forward, reverse, neutral and parking).

The interior is quite open: we do not have a closed driving position as on some competition cars. The visual sensation emanating from it thus becomes very pleasing. At the back we are left with three seats, including two real seats. At the level of the legs there is room even for tall people. The middle seat should be reserved for short trips and short people. It is possible to utilize instead of a detachable armrest that acts as a backrest when closed.

A small box!

The luggage compartment with a capacity of 228 liters offers plenty of space despite the fact that the wheel arches eat up some space in the sides. This is definitely the most limiting point of the Funky Cat, as the Volkswagen ID.3 offers 185 liters more! The low volume of the trunk therefore brings the Funky Cat a little closer to a city car.

Ora Funky Cat EVS-00011

An innovative embedded system with 2 screens

The little extra about Funky Cat is its built-in system. The software part is really remarkable fluid and the very compelling and hyper-colored design. There is a 10.25-inch screen for the dashboard as well as another screen of similar size (and fully touch-sensitive) for infotainment, in the middle of the dashboard.

The prototype in which we took place did not run the latest version of the operating system, but the production vehicle will be well equipped with it, with a visual interface revised for the apartment. The operating system provides artificial intelligence features : A camera called the “Driving Monitor System” constantly monitors the driver’s face and will adjust certain functions (such as heated, ventilated and massaging seats) depending on their condition.

It is this camera that allows the Ora Funky Cat to be ready for autonomous driving at level 3. It is not yet known if the car will be allowed to use these features (Mercedes only allows autonomous driving at level 3 on German autobahns with its EQS). but customers will at least be entitled to level 2 autonomous drivingthanks to the adaptive cruise control combined with the lane assistant.

Available in Europe from 2022

From a technical point of view, the Ora Funky Cat offers a 48 kWh battery for an advertised range of 193 WLTP miles (310 km). Efficiency is not his strength, as a Renault Zoé with its 50 kWh battery promises a range of 390 km. In terms of performance, the mark indicates 0 to 100 in 8.3 seconds thanks to a 171 horsepower engine located on the front axle and a torque of 250 Nm. For recharging, it is necessary to count on a power of 80 kW in DC and 11 kW in 3-phase AC or 6.6 kW in 1-phase.

The big unknown remains the price and availability in France. In the UK is The Ora Funky Cat will be available at the end of the year at a price of £ 30,495, or around € 36,000. Now all that remains is to wait and hope that this little compact can one day roll on our roads.

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