Starting from 2023, the domestic new energy market can be said to be in a grim situation:
First, the national subsidies for new energy vehicles were reduced, which forced new energy vehicle companies to raise prices. However, Tesla went against the trend and lowered prices greatly at the beginning of the year in order to seize orders.
Following Tesla’s price reduction, domestic new energy vehicle companies had no other choice but to follow suit.
In addition, car companies kept introducing new products in an attempt to occupy more market share.
And the LanTu ZhuiGuang, which I am test driving today, is the first show of LanTu aiming at the high-end new energy market in the BBA segment.
Apart from benchmarking the Audi A6L, there is also a brand that can make “light” the main element of a car. So, fueled by my curiosity, I embarked on this 48-hour “Chasing Light” journey in Zhoushan, the easternmost part of mainland China, with the LanTu.
A Surprising First Impression
In order to appreciate the beauty of the light and shadow of the LanTu ZhuiGuang, I arrived at the sunrise point by the sea in Zhoushan early in the morning to wait for its arrival. When I approached the LanTu ZhuiGuang, it was quietly waiting to be appreciated and repeatedly relished by people by the sea.
In fact, this is the second time I have seen the real car. To be honest, there is a different understanding and experience after seeing the designer’s introduction at the first launch and seeing the real car again.
Considering it is called ZhuiGuang, the design of this car is certainly not without the use of light elements. The LanTu car badge on the front face can even glow.
The grille is connected with the two headlights on both sides to form a crescent-shaped design, enhancing the visual width of the front of the car.
The front bumper’s sporty “fangs” do not destroy the overall elegance of the car. If paired with baby blue paint, this car is simply tailor-made for young and fashionable trendsetters.
There are a total of four colors of paint for the Zeekr Light Pursuit, and the one I had the privilege to test drive today is Flow Gold, which actually looks more like antique bronze. Available colors also include DR White, Sunburst Orange, and Cloud Light Blue, designed based on the colors changing throughout the day in the sky.
The step-shaped chrome metal line below the car door, equipped with hidden door handles and low wind resistance hub covers, make the car’s wind resistance coefficient only 0.22Cd. In comparison, the wind resistance coefficient of its peers, the Zhiji L7, is 0.21Cd, the NIO ET7 is 0.208Cd, and the FF F7 is 0.206Cd.
As a mid-to-large-sized sedan, the Zeekr Light Pursuit measures 5088/1970/1505mm in length, width, and height, with a wheelbase of 3000mm. Of course, the size and wheelbase do not necessarily guarantee the utilization rate of the interior space. The Zhiji L7 and NIO ET7 have slightly larger dimensions than the Zeekr Light Pursuit, but their interior space and seat comfort are not ideal.
In terms of actual experience, the seating arrangement of the front and rear rows of the Zeekr Light Pursuit has its unique attributes, especially in the creation of the rear space.
Entering the car, the most obvious feeling is that the space is very large, especially the right seat of the second row, which has a one-click reclining function. Just press the touch screen, and the co-pilot seat will automatically move forward to leave enough space for the legs of the second row. At the same time, the backrest and leg support of the seat can be adjusted to the most comfortable position.
Combined with seat massage, lying down makes me want to never get up again. However, the length of the leg support cannot be adjusted, and for men it is a bit too short.
There is also a button with a camera symbol on the seat of the owner in the right rear row to activate Zeekr Light Pursuit’s unique “one-click privacy” mode.After being turned on, the vehicle will filter phone call records, contacts, navigation search records, and driving tracks, and automatically turn off the in-car cameras and microphones to ensure absolute user information security.
With the development of intelligent and networked automotive industry, electric vehicles are no longer just means of transportation, but rather a third space with privacy considerations, making information security even more important.
And the insight that Zhui Guang has on communication, data, and information filtering and protection is definitely not a “pseudo-demand.”
Moving to the rear of the vehicle, the biggest highlight of Zhui Guang is the through-type taillights and the hidden lifting tail wing. This design makes the vehicle look very fashionable, while also incorporating the lines of the Lantu brand logo.
However, there is one small detail that was criticized earlier- Zhui Guang did not have a physical button for the trunk. Looking at the actual car again, I really cannot find a location to add the button that wouldn’t detract from the overall aesthetic of the rear end.
But considering usability, it is still hoped that Zhui Guang will improve its design for the physical trunk button when it is officially launched in April.
I still have a question that cannot be dispelled- Lantu’s first two models were hybrid and pure electric combinations, but the interior space of electric sedans is the most difficult aspect to conquer.
The huge battery pack under the SUV chassis can still “pass under the radar,” but a sedan with a large battery pack or even a battery swap platform- even the auto-industry’s godfather, Mercedes EQS and the aesthetically pleasing flagship ET7 by NIO- cannot achieve the coordination of exterior appearance and spacious interior.
But Zhui Guang has amazingly achieved the coordination of interior and exterior space, possibly due to the “compact and streamlined” redesigned battery pack. Even with a 109kWh large battery pack, there is no compromise for foot space due to the battery.
Farewell to Qingcheng
The interior of Zhui Guang is equipped with three 12.3-inch screens. In addition to the common voice interaction, button interaction, and touch interaction, it also supports two new interaction methods: gesture interaction and biometric recognition.“`
However, gesture interaction is not a new gimmick anymore. I have experienced the gesture interactions of BMW and NIO before, which to some extent increase the multidimensional interaction experience.
Compared with physical buttons, gestures have pure simplicity and endless creativity. The variation of finger numbers and the combination of different variables can create countless ways of operation to meet the needs, which indeed makes it necessary.
Therefore, I tried the interaction screen located on the right side of the instrument panel in detail. It can recognize 16 kinds of gesture controls and realize functions such as song selection, volume adjustment, and fast forward.
When I need to mute the car, I just need to make a “shh” gesture, and the car will be quiet. To reject a Bluetooth call, just make a palm gesture, and there is also a camera function like a “V” sign.
The 60-inch large screen of AR-HUD can display more than 30 kinds of traffic information, but there is still some difference between the color rendering and the real AR integration with the scenery.
The unique movie-watching mode allows the front seats to be folded down with one button, forming a through sofa with the rear seats. The projection screen and the Dynaudio sound system together create an in-car cinema, realizing an immersive movie-watching experience.
The interior of the Chasing Light uses ultra-fine suede leather and diamond perforated stitching, and is also equipped with a panoramic sunroof + roller blind partition control, covering an area of 2.2 square meters.
The Dynaudio sound with 14 speakers is also a highly playable function of the Chasing Light. The sound effects can be intelligently adjusted in dozens of modes, combined with sound field focusing, sound field optimization, and active sound management and other acoustic technologies.
“`All seats in the car are equipped with heating, ventilation, and massage functions as standard. The back seats are equipped with a 7-inch control screen, which can adjust functions such as the sound system, heating, ventilation, and ambient lighting.
In terms of driving assistance, because it is not the final version yet, I didn’t have the chance to try it out unfortunately. However, the basic features such as Lantu’s self-developed high-speed autonomous navigation driving system, remote vehicle movement, parking memory, and even point-to-point driving assistance will certainly not be absent in the future. This all depends on the 31 high-performance sensors carried by Zhui Guang, including 12 cameras, 5 millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic radars, and 2 high-precision positioning units.
Tame every performance monster with “Light”
The first dynamic test drive of Lantu Zhui Guang in the country. Talking about data on paper is definitely not satisfying. Since the staff in the car told me that they have taken the NIO ET7 and Zhiji L7 as their target imaginary enemies, coincidentally, I have had in-depth test-driving experiences with these two cars before.
In my opinion, compared with those two cars, Lantu Zhui Guang appears more balanced and moderate in terms of handling and riding experience. It achieves the comfortable luxury experience of NIO ET7 (even the space and riding comfort of Zhui Guang are slightly better). It also strives to keep up with the dynamic master Zhiji L7 in handling and extreme performance. The steering wheel and pedals are accurate and precise, and the return torque is just right.
This is mainly due to the hardware. Lantu Zhui Guang’s chassis uses a double-wishbone + five-link suspension, equipped with air suspension + CDC and 4D smart chassis technology. It judges the driver’s intention based on information such as longitudinal acceleration and vehicle turning angle from the XYZ axis and the time dimension on four aspects and actively adjusts the damping force of the shock absorber.In addition, the intelligent four-wheel drive system can achieve 0-100% front and rear torque distribution. Therefore, even when driving at high speeds on rainy days on the Zhoushan Islands and winding mountain roads, the 510 horsepower Lucid Air Dream Edition’s quiet and smooth ride left me astonished.
The chassis is made of aluminum alloy material, accounting for more than 90% of the weight. The lighter spring weight improves grip. It also has intelligent multi-mode driving mode, millisecond-level torque distribution, and chassis electric control comfortable parking function, so it drives delicately and comfortably, reducing pitching during acceleration and cornering.
In addition, good handling performance is also attributed to the intelligent four-wheel drive system that can achieve 0-100% front and rear torque distribution. This is especially obvious on mountain roads where the torque distribution keeps all four wheels firmly on the ground, even when the road is wet and slippery.
However, due to the heavy weight of the vehicle’s body, irregular bounce of the rear suspension can be felt while driving on mountain roads.
As for range, the total distance of this test drive was about 100 kilometers, most of which was driven in sport mode with no mercy on the accelerator.
After driving on mountain roads, highways, and city roads, the final energy consumption ended up at 16 kWh / 100 km, which is very close to the official figure of 15.6 kWh / 100 km. The full charge range is also close to 700 km.
“Lone Warrior” Chasing the Light
As a “new force”, in order to compete with BBA’s mid-to-large-sized sedans without the advantage of brand history, Lucid Motors can only focus on differentiation in details and new experiences, in order to pique user’s curiosity and desire to purchase.
Benchmarking BBA, the NIO ET7 is the pioneer in this field. Its cockpit expresses the brand’s “second living room” concept through Nordic minimalist lines, environmentally friendly and novel materials, and immersive light effects, forming a clear contrast with the “classical and stable luxury” of BBA.This is also why the ET7, which was formally delivered only a few months ago, has risen to fourth place on the sales chart of 300,000+ mid- to large-sized cars, surpassing all second-tier luxury brands’ mid- to large-sized models such as the Cadillac CT6, Volvo S90, and Hongqi H9.
I remember I once wrote an article on why ET7 car owners had chosen NIO ET7 when they took delivery of the first batch of cars. The answer, after all, was surprisingly consistent:
NIO’s innovation and intelligence have a fatal appeal to bosses who are tired of driving BBA cars.
However, as time passes, six months have passed, and the magic of the word “novelty” has an extremely short shelf life.
When companies such as Lantu Chasing Light, FF F7, Zero Run C01, and Nezha S compete with each other in the electric car market, NIO ET7, after the explosive delivery of the first batch of bookings, has also shown signs of fatigue. In January 2023, only 521 ET7s were sold nationwide.
Therefore, facing these three giants, BBA, Li Bin still seems a bit too optimistic. Last year, he said in an interview on NIO DAY:
“Our competitors are BBA, and we aim to convert oil car users in the same price range into our users.”
But Lantu Chasing Light, who came later, was not too late to the party, and their product performance was enough to ring the alarm bells for new forces.
Standing in the “light” is a true hero.
Everyone wants to get a share of BBA’s market. Later, Lantu Chasing Light caught up and made a lot of efforts in luxury design:
Although both are sleek, Lantu Chasing Light did not sacrifice the interior space because of the bottom battery pack, unlike the ET7.
The boss’s leg support, privacy mode, viewing mode, panoramic sunroof sunshade, rear control screen, and gesture interaction are all advantages that distinguish Chasing Light from other cars. It is also the highest etiquette improvement and sincerity that Lantu Chasing Light has made after examining countless predecessors’ lessons on this car.The first two cars of the Dongfeng Aeolus brand give people a strong impression of excellent product quality, but they lack visibility on the road. Although the new car, which can be launched on the CCTV finance channel live broadcast room for press conferences, “Aeolus Chase Light” is the first. “30,000 + no rivals” is also the most ambitious statement in the “Aeolus Chase Light” press conference.
If NIO, Xiaopeng, and Ideal are the new forces in car manufacturing, Dongfeng Aeolus can claim to be the new “strength” in car making.
This automobile sub-brand established in 2018 integrates Dongfeng’s 53 years of car manufacturing technology and superior resources to launch two cars: “Aeolus Free” and “Dreamer”.
However, this time, “Aeolus Chase Light” entered the mid-to-large-sized sedan market – a market segment firmly controlled by BBA. The price ranges from 320,000 to 430,000 RMB, with the heavy responsibility of expanding the Aeolus brand and even the entire Dongfeng brand.
Regarding the product quality of this car, the CEO of Dongfeng Aeolus, Lu Fang, confidently gave it a five-word evaluation at the press conference – “no rivals in the same class”.
However, in the long run, more powerful competitors will enter this market segment, and in today’s highly competitive buyer’s market, consumers hold the key to the success of the “Aeolus Chase Light”.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email email@example.com.