–– EV DIARY ––
Suttie’s seven days
Our man north of the border spends a week with the debut model from one of the UK industry’s new EV kids on the block: the GWM Ora Funky Cat
GWM Ora Funky Cat First Edition
mile-range Test efficiency
They say you’re either a cat person or you’re not, but the GWM Ora Funky Cat might be the feline machine to convince those who remain unsure about EVs. It’s an all-new brand to the UK, although parent firm Great Wall will be familiar to pick-up drivers. As such, there’s no history or baggage with the name, however the Funky Cat tag can take some explaining, as I’ve already found out this morning on one short hop to the shops.
The Funky Cat earns its name with the cheery looks, even if both my wife and daughter say it would look better in a brighter colour than the black of this test car. I also noticed the rear lights do a, well, funky show when you unlock the car that adds a little surprise and delight to the start of any drive. In a similar vein to the looks, the badge has passers-by guessing the make – most reckoning it’s a Mini.
The claimed range of 193 miles turns out to be 165 miles on the clock after a charge up. Not massive by the latest EV standards but, as a runabout, the GWM Ora is on a par with many and it’s better than a similarly priced Honda e. Driving around today also shows the Funky Cat’s battery doesn’t deplete as quickly as many others, so the figure on the dash is what you can realistically expect on the road.
With this First Edition model, 18-inch alloy wheels are standard fare. I wish they weren’t as the ride is just too brittle on the cratered roads that surround chez moi. The handling is decent, if not as agile as an MG4 – and refinement is also good but not great. What irks me more, however, is the lane assist called Emergency Steering. It snatches the steering wheel all too readily on the approach to a corner or any bend in the road. It can be disabled, but it’s a faff in the menus and has to be done after every start-up.
Rear seat space is very good in the Funky Cat, making this a sound choice as a city car for the school run or car share commute. The seats are supportive and all-round vision for the driver is good, aided by a reversing camera. The boot, on the other hand, is very shallow and cluttered up with the charging cable if it’s not stashed in its carry bag after use.
There’s a lot of convenience built into the Funky Cat, such as the keyless entry and ignition. The car is simply ready to go when you get in, so you just select drive with the rotary controller and off you go. The few buttons that there are work the front and rear screen demisting, and the air conditioning. If only the infotainment menus were as easy to fathom with their confusing screens and small icons.
A quick recharge this afternoon ahead of handing the key back tomorrow. It takes around an hour on a 50kW charger to see the Funky Cat back up to about 90%, which is enough time for a walk. It’s also enough time to ponder if the Funky Cat will lure in buyers who have refused the charms of other EVs. At the price of the First Edition, I suspect not, but cheaper trims may do the trick.