Hybrid or plug-in? Stop arguing, we want them all.

Testing the Logic of “I Want Both” with the Geely Starich L Hi・P

Not long ago, Li Ruifeng, CEO of Great Wall Wei brand, and Huawei’s Yu Chengdong were involved in an online argument over “which is the better solution: extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).” The heated discussion highlighted the growing popularity of PHEV models, a category that was previously viewed as niche. Brands such as Great Wall, Geely, BYD, and GAC are all vying for a piece of the market.

Interestingly, although both EREVs and PHEVs fall into the same PHEV category, all the players in the market evaluate the two solutions to determine which one to pursue. But Geely took a different approach with its philosophy of “I want both.” This unique way of thinking is quite surprising since we had been previously discussing the advantages of each technology individually, without considering whether they could complement each other.

In this review, we examine the Geely Starich L Hi・P range-extended hybrid electric SUV to see if the company’s philosophy can bring a unique driving experience.

A Greater Choice, A Higher Efficiency

When it comes to product performance, the Starich L Hi・P’s strengths can be divided into two categories: the hybrid system and the vehicle as a whole. When evaluating the hybrid system, we naturally compare Geely’s technology with that of other players in the field, such as Great Wall and BYD.

Compared to others, the core difference of Geely’s hybrid system lies in its “three modes, three gears,” which correspond to the vehicle’s advantages. In terms of the overall hybrid logic, Geely’s hybrid system is similar to that of Great Wall’s DHT, featuring both parallel and serial working modes. The primary objective of these two modes is fuel efficiency. Of course, explaining the technical principles of these modes in detail can be quite tedious. Let’s take a look at how these work in real-world scenarios instead.

In urban environments, low-speed congestion is the most fuel-consuming scenario. Geely’s Starich L Hi・P has a motor system with a total power of 107 kilowatts, providing ample power reserves to cope with low-speed urban driving. Additionally, the range-extended hybrid model is equipped with a battery pack with a capacity of 41.2 degrees. When fully charged, the vehicle can achieve a range of 205 kilometers. For users who have access to charging facilities at home, daily commuting can rely on pure electric mode.For users who do not have home charging conditions, power supply situations are inevitable. At this time, the Leishen hybrid system will start the series-parallel mode. The engine operates in the high-efficiency range to drive the generator to supply energy to the motor. At the same time, it can also act as a range extender to supply power to the battery.

Under this logic, the engine can avoid inefficient operation and bring the driving quality of electric vehicles to the user.

In the urban scenario, there is also an unavoidable scenario of parking when waiting for traffic lights. A conventional fuel vehicle’s engine is still in idle when parked, although it consumes less fuel, it will eventually affect the overall fuel consumption data when accumulated. Many automakers use engine start-stop functions to deal with idle fuel consumption, but from the user’s perspective, the experience of this feature is very poor, so many people turn it off as soon as they start driving.

In the parking and traffic light start-up scenarios, range-extended hybrid models have an absolute advantage, with the engine idle stop function, and the motor has a faster response speed than the engine to start the vehicle.

The biggest difference from other hybrid systems is that the Geely Leishen hybrid has a series lock function, which means that users can choose between pure electric and hybrid modes, and can also choose range-extended mode in scenarios with low power demand, such as cities. This ensures that the vehicle is always driven by pure electricity when the battery is full, which means that users can get the pure electric driving experience without anxiety and avoid the larger noise caused by the direct drive of the engine after the system enters parallel mode.

In high-speed scenarios, the Leishen hybrid system will adopt a parallel mode, and the engine will directly drive the wheel. The 3-speed DHT gearbox will ensure that the direct drive mode of the engine is within the efficient range of 1800-2700 rpm. At the same time, the Leishen hybrid system can achieve full-speed domain series-parallel switching, which means that the motor is always in a standby state and can adjust the engine output characteristics through power output.Before the appearance of Thunder Hybrid, the most advanced technology used in hybrid vehicles was the two-speed DHT transmission. The intent of multi-speed transmission is to differentiate the operating conditions so that the engine stays in the highly efficient speed range for an extended period. In theory, the more gears, the more precise the engine control, and the better the fuel efficiency.

In addition, the Thunder Hybrid’s three-speed DHT mechanism is also connected to the electric motor. Previously, multi-speed electric drive systems were mostly used in high-end electric sports cars, such as the Porsche Taycan. As we know, although electric motors have very fast acceleration capabilities, they quickly decay when entering high-speed ranges. Multi-speed electric drive systems can also make the control of the electric motor more precise, further improving its acceleration capabilities and efficiency.

In addition to Hybrid, there is Intelligence

The price of the Geely Xing Yue L Hi-P hybrid model is RMB 253,700, with a body size of 4,770 * 1,895 * 1,689mm and a wheelbase of 2,845mm. The WLTP pure electric driving range is up to 1,250 kilometers.

This model is built on the Geely e-CMA architecture, and the exclusive “GEEA2.0 Hybrid” can evolve the intelligent electronic and electrical architecture, making the product capable of long-term OTA iteration. Based on the new generation of intelligent electronic and electrical architecture, Xing Yue L extended-range electric version is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8155 chip. The interactive hardware in the intelligent cockpit includes a huge triple screen.

The car is equipped with a rich ecosystem, including WeChat for automobiles. After logging in to the account on the car’s console, users can reply to friends who send messages through voice by pressing the button on the right side of the steering wheel, without distracting their attention from the driving process, and processing information quickly. At the same time, the front passenger can obtain a more relaxed riding experience by accessing entertainment programs on the front screen.

The car also features a 25.6-inch AR-HUD that covers 3 lanes and reaches a distance of up to 38 meters. Compared to traditional HUDs, the former provides more intuitive and safer driving experience by combining with the surrounding environment.

On intelligent driving, the Geely Starry Sky L Hi・P has L2+ level assisted driving functions and advanced safety systems such as automatic lane-changing assistance, HWA highway assisted driving, large vehicle intelligent avoidance, God’s Eye 540° transparent chassis, and cross-directional emergency warning systems. Meanwhile, ADS (Advanced Driving System) visual information is displayed on the instrument screen to enhance user’s confidence in the entire system.

Significant Advantages in Driving Quality

Excellent driving quality is also a complementary product of the Geely hybrid system. After test-driving the Starry Sky L Hi・P, we summarized two points of improvement compared to pure fuel vehicles: outstanding NVH performance and comfortable chassis tuning.

As we mentioned before, the Geely hybrid system runs in parallel connection and series connection, allowing the engine to always run in the most efficient operating range. Since the noise of the engine increases with the increase of the speed, maintaining the engine at the most appropriate speed in different complex conditions can effectively control NVH.

At the same time, driving the Geely Starry Sky Hi・P model, we can clearly feel its quick throttle response. No matter what kind of working conditions we are in, the parallel and series connection modes of the engine and motor can be quickly switched to parallel mode. The motor provides strong torque output in the initial stage, while the engine has sufficient power reserve to cope with medium and high-speed conditions.### Stars YUE L Hi・P

Stars YUE L Hi・P has made great progress in suspension tuning. The joint professional chassis tuning of China and Europe enables the vehicle to handle high-speed undulating roads and provide good support in mountain road turns. It ensures a good body posture when the vehicle is turning and gives drivers more confidence. It also has good suppression of vehicle pitch during sudden acceleration and deceleration.


It is easy to see that the current PHEV market is highly competitive not only in terms of technological routes but also in the pursuit of products that combine the advantages of the two technologies, such as the Geely Vision PHEV we test drove.

However, no matter what, consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries because it is through this competition that we gain more choices.

This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email bd@42how.com.