600,000 domestically-produced cars outbreak flow out for teaching purposes.

Cars all have their weaknesses, but not all cars have standout strengths that are impressive.

As consumers, we are often drawn to the standout features of a car or are greatly impacted by its weaknesses, which can even lead to an outright rejection of the car in some cases.

The desire for “good” things among consumers is limitless, and everyone wants to have the best of both worlds without any limitations. However, the manufacturer’s ability is always limited, and therefore, the ability to meet the demands of customers is also limited.

This is like playing a MOBA game – legendary equipment is undoubtedly powerful, but in a game with limited resources, you can only have one set of targeted equipment.

Therefore, this summary of the test drive of the HiPhi Z by GAODELI can be seen as a “tutorial on how to equip a 600,000 RMB domestic car to its fullest potential.”

The label for the HiPhi brand is…

It is actually challenging for a company to establish a strong impression of its brand or products in the minds of consumers. Although not all impressions are positive, these subculture labels can greatly improve brand recognition, allowing the public to associate specific characteristics with the brand.

For example, “Lamp Factory,” “Bath Emperor,” “Traffic Jam Factory,” “Luxury Cars,” “Refrigerators and Televisions,” and so on.

If you were to give HiPhi a nickname like this, I think it could be called “Door Factory.”

The standout feature of the first HiPhi car, the HiPhi X, is its extremely loud and noticeable door-opening method. This car has four doors that open in opposite directions and two gull-wing doors on the roof, and all six doors are electrically powered. In the parking performance mode, the six doors will move to the beat of the music, making it an attention-grabbing, unique, and unmistakable car – this is the most concise self-introduction of the HiPhi X.

I once described the HiPhi X as “the car with the highest repurchase rate that you can buy at the same price point.”Place this sentence today needs to be added with “one of” at the end because GAC has launched the all-electric sedan HiPhi Z on the same platform as X.

Be Irrational, Be Fresh

To be honest, this is not the first time I have seen the real car of HiPhi Z during the dynamic test drive. I have already experienced its visual shock during the Chongqing Auto Show before. After a few months, I met it again, and I was still “exaggerated” by the appearance of this car.

The sharp-edged and sharply lined appearance style of the car is easy to make people think of those mechanized vehicles with strong anime flavor, which is really unique in the current domestic new energy vehicle market, and there is no similar product on the market.

I still remember when I first saw the HiPhi Z appearance patent on Weibo, I once believed that this was a soft model car for display. My heart was full of curiosity and doubt about the engineering realization of this car: how many problems will be encountered in manufacturing such strange shape for mass production, will the wind resistance be high, how about the wind noise performance, and will the dynamic performance be good when driving?

Early leaked HiPhi Z patent

Unexpectedly, HiPhi Z finally maintained the state when it was first unveiled, and almost achieved mass production without any changes.

Even so, this HiPhi Z is still a car that exudes an “unreasonable atmosphere” everywhere. The size of the whole car is a representative part of its unreasonable atmosphere.# Unusual Three-Dimensional Dimensions of HiPhi Z

HiPhi Z has a length of 5,036 mm, which belongs to the length of standard mid-sized and large cars. Its wheelbase of 3,150 mm reaches the level of large cars. However, when you look at its height and width, you will find something unusual.

“Luxury Wide-Body Coupe”

The width of the HiPhi Z reaches an astonishing 2,018 mm. For readers who have no idea about this data, take a look at the width of these cars:

  • Mercedes-Benz S-class (W223) width 1,921 mm
  • New generation BMW 7-series (G70) width 1,950 mm
  • NIO L9 width 1,998 mm

Prior to this, the width of the extremely popular and known for its excessive width of the AK-47 001 was 1,999 mm, which is 19 mm narrower than the HiPhi Z.

The visual impact brought about by the wide-body is unquestionable, but a car that is over 2 meters wide has brought the parking and narrow road passing ability of this car to a new high.

The visual party applauds while the practical party complains.

What surprised me a little was that such a width did not have a significant sensory expression inside the car. Unlike some large SUVs, the HiPhi Z does not give passengers on both sides a strong sense of distance in terms of lateral space. Therefore, every time I want to complain during the test drive, I quietly move to the left, trying to stay out of the punching range of the engineer in the co-pilot seat. However, the HiPhi Z is still a 2-meter wide car, so I can still feel safe enough not to move too far away when I want to complain. Fortunately, my co-pilot and I were able to get along without any issues during the day.

Mid-Size Car Lower Than Model 3

Equally outrageous as the width of the car is its height of 1,439 mm.

Let’s take a look at some car models that we are all familiar with:

  • AK-47 001 height 1,560 mm
  • NIO ET5 height 1,499 mm
  • Tesla Model 3 height 1443 mm

In terms of posture comparison, there are almost no pure electric cars on the market that can be lower than the HiPhi Z. Even after stepping out of the confines of pure electric vehicles, the HiPhi Z is still lower than most fuel-powered A-class cars. Among cars with a second row, only a few GT models or sports cars are lower than the HiPhi Z.“`markdown

The lower the car is, the more eye-catching the visual effect is, but conversely, the tighter the space inside the car will be, which is reflected very obvious in the head and leg space of the HiPhi Z. With the dual invasion of large battery and low body, there is not much adjustable range of the first row seats and the seats are almost close to the ground, making it impossible for the rear passengers to stretch their legs.

So although HiPhi Z has a wheelbase of 3,120mm, the actual seating space in the rear row is far from that of fuel vehicles with the same wheelbase. For someone like me, the low rear seat cushion of HiPhi Z and the limited footrest space is not spacious enough, but fortunately the backrest angle is adjustable enough to avoid back fatigue.

Once again, the visual department applauds while the practical department complains.

Exaggeration is the key

And that’s not all, guess what, they gave this car with a height of just over 1.4 meters, a 22-inch wheel. And this is also the least like a mass-produced wheel of all the mass-produced cars I’ve seen.

So HiPhi Z has an exaggerated 0.56:1 wheel-to-height ratio. From the side, the large wheel hub of this car has an extremely strong visual presence, which can be said to reach the peak of the comic and sci-fi atmosphere in the visual aspect.

Of course, everyone knows the characteristics of a large wheel hub, which has negative effects such as comfort, cost, aerodynamics, and spring mass under quality, except for being good-looking.
“`Seeing this, I believe visual enthusiasts have already smashed their screens, while practical enthusiasts are probably cursing out of breath.

In the past, I would have thought that this kind of product is too extreme, but this time I firmly stand on the side of the visual enthusiasts. After all, when you buy a luxury car at a high price, you want the kind of strong visual impact that it provides. If you really want practicality and stability, why not buy a traditional luxury brand executive sedan?

Although the price of the HiPhi Z is over 600,000 yuan and it is not small in size, compromising on practicality and unconventional rear seating, the HiPhi Z is clearly not a serious car just from its appearance (neutral). Even if it has a comfortable rear seating, it does not have the visual characteristics of an executive sedan.

The external appearance is an important expression that needs to match the interior to be harmonious, which is important for both cars and people.

Imagine if you were working on a big project and the other party was a polite, elegant, and tasteful gentleman dressed in glowing mech armor. Don’t you think it’s just another UP master from B station trying to come up with a topic?

But if you want to attract the attention of passers-by in the downtown area, wearing glowing armor on the street works much better than any suit.

Since HiPhi Z plays with visual effects, when a visual effect meets other challenging demands, it should adhere to the priority of vision. If it’s personalized, it should be personalized to the end, with a low stance and a wide body. As for things like ease of parking and rear space, they can go to hell.

The actual effect proves that being irrational is fresh enough.

The Other Side of Compromise: Extreme Creates Extraordinary

“Is this really the feeling?”

As I drove the HiPhi Z out for the first few kilometers, this sentence kept lingering in my mind.

Because the driving experience of this HiPhi Z has become just as distinctive as its appearance, gaining something but losing something.

Sitting Position & View Unlike Domestic Cars

First of all, the sitting position and driving view of the HiPhi Z driver’s seat are much better than those of several large domestic cars that I have driven recently. In my personal impression, this is an area where domestic brands have not done well enough and is rarely mentioned by everyone.## A Typical Problem: Steering Wheel Doesn’t Extend Enough

If you’re taller and the seat is adjusted backward, you’ll need to reach for the steering wheel uncomfortably. This problem exists in many car models, including the obvious one in Xiaopeng P5. The Tesla Model 3/Y and BMW iX are my test drive experience that addressed this issue relatively well.

Image of Steering wheel without extend distance

This time, HiPhi Z comes with a significantly extendable electric steering column. After adjusting it to the full extent, I felt relieved that I can finally start the test drive of a domestic car in a fairly reclining position. In fact, I even had a few seconds of impulse to buy one before being rational again while accidentally clicking on the securities app instead of GoHigh app on my phone.

Regarding the driving part, let’s continue with the discussion of the visual field. Similar to L9, HiPhi Z doesn’t have an instrument screen, but a head-up display instead. However, the navigation of this prototype vehicle is still in part-time status. It was probably off-duty on the day of the test drive, so the HUD also enjoyed a day off along with the navigation that day.

Therefore, I really can’t evaluate how well the HUD performed, but I can feel that the view of the central console without an instrument screen is indeed open. Moreover, HiPhi Z only has one central screen in the front row. As the hood height is very low, and the front end is diving, the entire forward view is unobstructed.

Image of clear forward vision with low hood height

At some moments, “this kind of forward view even gave me the illusion of driving a wider Model 3”. Such a wide field of view has greatly increased my confidence in driving this car, and I hardly ever activated the 360° camera when driving through narrow roads. Instead, during the extreme Krypton 009 test drive event, I could clearly feel the increasing tension in my blood pressure every time I passed through the toll booth in the underground parking lot. In summary, the driving vision can be considered as one of the advantages of HiPhi Z.In terms of handling, this car is a bit out of the ordinary.

Not quite comfortable, indeed a little hard to handle

Regarding the things I’m not satisfied with, the ride comfort of the HiPhi Z is rather lackluster for its price range. Even in its softest comfort mode, the suspension doesn’t quite live up to expectations on rough asphalt roads.

Objectively speaking, each bump that the HiPhi Z passes over is handled crisply without any excessive bouncing or aftershocks. However, except for when the impact is created and disappears, the suspension seems to be slacking off a bit in terms of absorbing undulations in the road. The vibrations and shaking that are transmitted to the car’s interior aren’t necessarily rough, but they certainly cannot be called elegant.

After experiencing a few large bumps, I discovered that the problem isn’t completely with the suspension. When I drove on a few arched bridge sections with bumps, the suspension’s damping action was quite appropriate, but every time there was a larger movement, it would give feedback of reaching its limits.

The cause of this is the large 22-inch wheels. The already low-lying body of the HiPhi Z leaves little space for the suspension travel, and the large diameter tires make this space even more limited.

When I talked to the HiPhi Z’s chassis calibration engineer about this, he said that the large wheels indeed limit the suspension travel. If they used 21-inch wheels, the entire car’s dynamic performance would be better. However, in the end, everyone chose the larger wheels for the visual effect.

Alright, I’ll concede. Nevertheless, comfort is not everything when it comes to a car’s chassis, and the engineers at Human Horizons still have confidence in the driving and handling performance of the HiPhi Z.

Additionally, during the test drive, they told me a few interesting things:

  1. When calibrating the chassis, they chose to benchmark against the Porsche Taycan, but they didn’t intend for the HiPhi Z to perform as sportily as the Taycan.

  2. The ESP engineer himself is a performance car enthusiast and drives very aggressively.3) Although HiPhi Z and X share the same platform, the suspension system of Z, with a focus on handling, has been almost completely redesigned.

After driving the car onto the Shenjiahu Expressway, I tested the car’s capabilities with some skepticism. However, what surprised me more than the handling performance was the car’s NVH.

The NVH performance of domestic new energy vehicles is generally good, and models such as the NIO ET7, Xpeng P7, and Li Xiang One have received considerable praise for their NVH. However, don’t forget something that has been mentioned repeatedly before: this HiPhi Z is equipped with 22-inch tires, with the rear tires reaching a width of 285 mm.

During actual driving, the tire noise of the HiPhi Z is almost non-existent, regardless of different road surfaces and speeds. In terms of subjective experience, it is almost the same as the EQS I drove before. When I first saw the angular design of the HiPhi Z, I thought its wind noise would be disastrous, but the wind noise was surprisingly good.

But what surprised me the most was the electric motor NVH. Previously, no matter whether it was on new energy vehicles or flagship models of traditional luxury brands, even if the electric motor NVH was well done, you could always hear the high-frequency noise of the motor with the throttle pressed deep enough.

However, the HiPhi Z is the only electric vehicle I have driven where I can’t hear the electric motor noise even when I press the accelerator to the floor.

Although the design may be somewhat “fancy,” the aspect of product sophistication highlighted by NVH is still quite “traditional.”

Finally, let’s talk about the handling. First, let’s briefly describe the HiPhi Z’s chassis configuration: front double wishbones and rear five-link suspension, equipped with air springs and CDC shock absorbers, and the rear wheels are equipped with a two-way 13.2° rear-wheel steering system.

This time, we put the conclusion first: the dynamic driving experience of the HiPhi Z is one of the few vehicles of its weight and size that leans towards a sporty orientation, with excellent responsiveness in both longitudinal and lateral directions that can closely follow the driver’s movements.

Compared to most larger vehicles, HiPhi Z intentionally designed their steering to be smaller and the overall vehicle’s roll control is extremely superior. When driving in sport mode, every large lane change creates a feeling of the comfortable Model 3 opening, and the vehicle smoothly and decidedly shifts lanes.

Engineers said that the reason for such feeling is because of the HiPhi Z’s rear-wheel steering. When driving at high speeds, the lateral response is quick and the side grip of the front and rear axles is synchronized. Moreover, the vehicle’s tilting angle is also at a magnitude where it can be seen with the naked eye, ensuring excellent cornering stability.

The reason for the small roll is because HiPhi Z uses a special body control system. This system can predict and calculate the final execution result of the body dynamics as soon as the driving signal occurs. For example, if the driver suddenly to turns left while driving at high speeds, the right suspension will be compressed strongly, and the right rear wheel may break the limit of the side slip.

In the past, when the ESP and the vehicle’s driving input signal were not connected, the sensor would only detect and execute remedial actions when the vehicle was unstable.

But the IVC system on HiPhi Z knows what will happen when the driving signal is inputted, and will optimize the signal, by intervening in the braking and steering systems, and pre-position the entire “remedy” action, thereby making the whole remedy action become proactive.

So this HiPhi Z is such a unique combination: a wide and low body, a semi-lying posture, a good view suitable for driving, a suspension that has good road filtering ability but average shock absorption, large tires, good cornering response and supporting ability. It is easy to see that this is an electric GT model – a model that can provide driving quality on a good paved road while also being able to withstand a certain level of intense driving.

By the way, this HiPhi Z also has the best dual-acceleration pedal calibration in the independent brand that I have test-driven. Its power output and kinetic energy recovery conform to the three characteristics of “linear”, “low latency” and “with a curved transition feeling”. HiPhi Z’s stop mode is also implemented at a good level, but the moment of the final parking brake engagement is slightly later than the wheel speed reaching zero. Such a strategy can achieve a smooth and perfect stop on flat road, but extremely subtle slipping may occur when driving on sloped roads.After a day of test driving, the driving experience of the HiPhi Z exceeded my expectations, especially during the night run on the highway. I happen to have previously driven the EQS with its three-chamber air suspension. In comparison, the Mercedes-Benz provides the expected level of comfort, while the HiPhi Z compromises on comfort but gains a rare driving pleasure for its class.

I have always believed that cars can affect a driver’s driving preferences. It may be that the HiPhi Z’s driving vision suits my taste better, or that its steering response matches my intuition better. Of course, it may also be because the test car’s assisted driving was not available, and I had to drive on my own on the highway. However, I found myself changing lanes more frequently and having a stronger desire for speed when driving the HiPhi Z compared to the EQS.

As the test drive ended, I started to think about the ultimate question about the HiPhi Z: who is this car for, and why should I buy it?

HiPhi Z’s “Explosive Flow” Product Definition

The Chinese new energy market is turbulent, to the point where even regular product releases are easily forgotten, and even top traditional luxury brands have to significantly lower the prices of their electric vehicles. The market feedback is straightforward: compared with consumers of gasoline vehicles, consumers of electric vehicles care about everything except the premium price.

They are still very concerned about brand, and the brand must be electric, such as Tesla or BYD, or they must be new players. Traditional automakers’ electric vehicles are not considered authentic electric vehicles by most consumers.

At the same time, they are very concerned about the identification of the product, especially the sense of identification brought by the product’s technological advancement. Therefore, in the past two years, we have seen a variety of technology dissemination for new energy vehicles, including batteries, assisted driving, electronic and electrical architecture, and thermal management systems.

Moreover, they still care about the compatibility of the product with their own needs. Most people will not consider a car they do not need.

This market environment poses a problem: the persuasion cost for new energy users in China has not only increased but also expanded to multiple dimensions.

Traditional “physical attacks” like product value for money must reach a significant magnitude to break through consumers’ defenses. Many joint ventures are not accustomed to doing such things and are rejected by consumers outright.Like BYD Tesla and other vertically integrated and scaled enterprises, they have reached the limit of “physical attack”, and one move can severely damage their competitors.

Going back to what was said at the beginning, “In a game with limited economy, players usually can only make one targeted equipment set.” If one is not a strong leading enterprise, then they can only focus on their own capabilities and make some explosive points that can be achieved.

GAOHE’s equipment route is to fully add “critical strike” to their skill points, making the visual effects and ceremonies of the vehicle over-the-top from the inside out, thereby satisfying users’ curiosity and personalized needs.

The result is that GAOHE’s two models are vehicles with a strong presence on the road, and this presence will be heightened when the door is opened.

And compared to X, HiPhi Z is more determined in this direction, with a completely self-indulgent styling design and more deliberate excessive expression. Although I am not very fond of HiPhi Z’s styling, I have to say that it is indeed unique. And this tone ultimately made HiPhi Z a “unique product without horizontal competitors.”

What is reassuring is that HiPhi Z has done a lot in terms of making up for its shortcomings. Although the UI of the car was previously extremely discouraging, it has now reached a passable level during test drives, and the driving experience is not inferior to the latest generation of new energy products.

Is this enough for people to pay for it?

For most people with this budget, I think the answer is NO. The cheaper NIO ET7 is a product that can give them a greater sense of psychological security. But for the small group of consumers who feel that today’s electric vehicles in the market are too boring, HiPhi Z may be their only choice before the delivery of the updated Model X.

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.