There’s a shared belief that Chery is a symbol of tech males in the automotive world. If an auto brand with such characteristics embarks on designing a car for home users based on electric vehicles, what should this car look like?
The answer might be found in the Star Era ET.
Having made its debut at the Shanghai Auto Show last year, the Star Era ET started its first assembly line on January 19 this year. It is expected to launch its pre-sale in the first quarter of this year.
After nearly a year of preparation, the sharpness of the Star Era ET will finally be put to the test.
Double ‘Torture’ for the Star Era ET
Electric cars have largely reshaped our lifestyle of using vehicles, but they themselves still suffer from many drawbacks that need to be addressed.
One of the major shortcomings – their delicate nature that leads to potential fire outbreak upon a knock, possible control loss in heat, poor performance and limited distance in the cold. This has led to electric cars being teased as ‘electric dadies’.
In cold winter environments, the increase in electrolyte viscosity and reduced positive and negative electrode activities in batteries severely hamper the charging and discharging capabilities. Thus, battery life and charging capacity being stifled by cold temperatures is a significant challenge for electric cars.
Moreover, low temperatures can pose a threat to the stability of vehicle components. For example, there have been complaints on social media about door handles being frozen and unresponsive in the northeast.
To ensure the Star Era ET delivers smooth user experiences in winter, Chery has not held back in integrating its cutting-edge technologies into the vehicle.
Battling Temperatures as Low as -30 Degrees Celsius
To achieve better battery life and charging performance in winter, the key is to properly control the energy input and output – improving battery activity to ensure charging and discharging capabilities on one hand, and minimizing losses to efficiently utilize the charged power on the other.
In this regard, the Star Era ET has opted for the Godspeed Supercharge battery from CATL.
Fundamentally, the Godspeed Supercharge is still a type of lithium iron phosphate battery. According to CATL’s official statement, the battery has been innovatively designed to withstand extremely cold environments, ensuring a performance of 400 km range replenishment in 10 minutes of charging.
In terms of power control, the Star Era ET adopts a high-voltage 800V architecture and SiC silicon carbide motor power control scheme, minimizing thermal losses, optimizing energy usage, and equipped with an energy-saving dual heat source heat pump air conditioning system.According to official figures, when undergoing battery endurance testing in Yakutsk at temperatures as low as minus thirty degrees Celsius, the Singularity ET, which has an indicated standard operating range of 689 km, kept going until it could no longer run. In single-driver mode, with the air conditioning set to 23℃, it managed to cover a distance of 435.9 km. This represents a battery life achievement rate of 63.3%.
Interestingly, in the official test, the Singularity ET took only 22 minutes to charge from 30% to 80%, which is essentially no different from the charging time in summer, even though the temperature at the time was minus 25℃.
Alternation of Cold and Heat
Functioning stability of the vehicle’s entire system under extremely cold conditions is a test of automobile manufacturing quality. However, for Chery, that has a solid 26-year history in automobile manufacturing, it should be a basic operation.
In the outdoor environment of Yakutsk, with temperatures dropping to minus thirty degrees Celsius, Chery sprayed water on the entire surface of Singularity ET, encasing it in ice for 24 hours. Then, after 24 hours, Chery relocated the Singularity ET to a warm area for thawing.
As is commonly known, with the variation of temperature, some characteristics of materials can change. During the alternation from extreme cold to extreme heat, materials experience the impact of thermal expansion and contraction. Therefore, under extremely cold conditions, automobile glass, body surface, rubber connectors, plastic parts, assembly, etc., can face substantial threats.
Nevertheless, the Singularity ET withstood the ‘torture’ of temperature change, and there was neither water intrusion into the cabin nor any component failure. The vehicle can still function normally.
According to official information, in order to ensure the reliability of the vehicle under different conditions, even door handles go through a 100,000 cycles of cold and heat durability testing.
Defence of the Battery
The vast majority of an electric car’s ‘sensitivity’ originates from the battery.
To withstand the impact from the ground, the Singularity ET is equipped with a 1,300 MPa hot-formed steel base plate at the bottom. Silicon foam is used between the battery pack’s top and box as well as between the protective bottom plate and the box, as if dressing the battery in a padded jacket to ward off the cold.
At the same time, to reduce the risk of thermal runaway of the battery, the Singularity ET employs the BMS system to monitor the battery condition in real-time. A silica gel thermal insulating mat is placed between the battery cells, and mica plate, ceramic composite tape, PC insulating film, and other insulating protective materials are placed on top of the battery cells.
Like the complete vehicle, to validate safety, the battery pack of Singularity ET has also ‘suffered’ a lot, being soaked in an ice-water mixture for an hour and being burned in a large fire for 130 seconds. However, it has passed all these tests thanks to the protection of the digitized system and physical materials.
This implies that Star Era ET possesses enough competence to handle most driving conditions, greatly alleviating users’ concerns about water-crossing during rainy days, grounding on unpaved roads or spontaneous combustion in case of a collision.
It’s worth emphasizing that the aforementioned freezing, baking, and immersing tests far exceed national standards. Meeting national standards and ensuring driving safety are undoubtedly the essential duties of every automaker. However, for Chery, creating safety features that surpass national standards constitutes a particularly real issue.
After all, as a company that is widely favored by overseas consumers, Chery not only has to satisfy domestic users’ demands, but also cater to overseas customers’ needs. According to official data, Chery’s export volume in 2023 was 937,100, accounting for half of the company’s annual total sales.
Viewing from Chery’s current major domestic and overseas markets, after Star Era ET is launched, it could not only appear in the snowy Northeast, but also possibly in the scorched deserts of the Middle East, or in the rugged primitive South American forests…
As for how Star Era ET performs after delivery, everyone can continue to follow our relevant evaluations.
‘Sofa, Television, and Coffee Table’
Star Era ET carries on Chery’s distinct engineering style of solid car-manufacturing quality. Yet, if you want to see Chery’s less techy side in the era of new energy, Star Era ET would be a particularly ideal reference.
Perhaps you’ve encountered this scenario — while driving on lengthy and congested highways, your co-riders recline their seats, lie down, and watch movies or TV series on the center console screen. Meanwhile, the charging phone is placed on the wireless fast-charge pad, and beverages, snacks, or fruits are placed either beside them or on the central island or console, always inconvenient to reach.
The same scenario at home would be starkly different. We usually prefer to veg out on the sofa with our phones charging beside us and beverages, snacks, or fruits just an arm’s length away on a coffee table. Everything is readily available.
Can such a comfortable scenario be realized inside a car? Star Era ET gets very close indeed.
To comfortably stretch out in a car, the car itself needs to be large enough first.
The dimensions (length, width, and height) of Star Era ET are 4,955 mm, 1,975 mm, and 1,698 mm respectively, with a wheelbase of 3,000 mm. It is larger than Model Y, Xpeng G9, and some other vehicles of the same or higher class, making it a full-fledged medium-large SUV. Furthermore, the cabin space of Star Era ES is 3.45 m³, which is even larger than that of Benz EQS SUV.The spacious design of the Star Era ET provides ample room for the three musketeers — a “sofa”, a “color TV”, and a “small coffee table”.
The “sofa” refers to the main and co-driver seats of the Star Era ET that offers a sofa-like comfort, featuring ventilation, heating, and massage functions. The co-driver’s seat even includes a zero-pressure seating scheme for a more pleasant and comfortable experience. The “color TV” refers to the 15.6-inch 2.5K central control screen of the Star Era ET, accommodating users’ movie or drama watching needs. The “small coffee table” refers to the movable island in the Star Era ET, which allows the co-driver to easily access their charging phone on, or a drink in the cup holder even while lying down during the drive.
Moreover, the movable island can serve multiple purposes, like doubling as a coffee table for the rear-seat passengers, providing an alternative exit for users when it’s inconvenient to leave via the driver’s door, and giving extra space for placing larger items without the need to go to the trunk.
Complete with a “sofa”, “color TV”, and a “small coffee table”, the Star Era ET also boasts ambiance configurations like double-layer storage compartments and a natural solid wood central console. The ample ambient lights on door panels and around the central console add a relaxed and delightful atmosphere to the entire cockpit.
In other respects, the Star Era ET doesn’t disappoint either.
Starting with intelligence, the cockpit of the Star Era ET, built with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8155 chip and Lion AI super model, offers a more convenient and smart interactive experience — for example, the aforementioned movable island can be voice-controlled.
Moreover, the Star Era ET is equipped with lidar and 30 smart driving sensors, along with two Nvidia Orin-X chips, laying the hardware foundation for urban navigation-on-autopilot (NOA), highway NOA, and parking features. According to official information, the Star Era ET is expected to support highway NOA in February of this year and urban NOA in some cities in the second quarter.
In terms of driving performance, Chery hasn’t revealed much about the Star Era ET. But based on data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the four-wheel-drive variant of Star Era ET’s front electric motor output power is 123 kW, and the rear one is 230 kW, providing sufficient power for daily use, and it’s also believed that the single-motor model will be equally impressive.
Worth mentioning is that the suspension configuration of the Star Era ES is the only model in the 200K – 300K yuan price range that comes standard with air suspension. It is eagerly anticipated whether the Star Era ET will continue with the configuration scheme of the Star Era ES.## Final Thoughts
After all that’s been said, how will the price of the Exeed ET be determined?
Considering the price of the Exeed ES, one can surmise that the odds are in favor of the Exeed ET being priced between 200 and 350 thousand. Should the Exeed ET be priced within this range, it would be fairly competitive against household SUVs of the same value.
However, the current SUV market in the 200-350 thousand range is densely populated. As for the upcoming competitors, known contenders include the LI L6 and the NIO’s Debut model from Alpina brand. Countless other unknown competitors lie in the wait – Exeed ET faces significant rivalry.
Fortunately, as the transition between energy vehicles and fuel-powered cars unfolds, the overall market for household energy SUVs is still on the upward trend. So, while the competition is tough, Exeed has plenty of potential opportunities. Moreover, Chery doesn’t only have a significant user base domestically, but also commands an extensive market overseas.
At Chery’s gala night in November of the previous year, Chery voiced its ambition with a slogan: “Chery’s new energy 2024 – No holds barred.” Clearly, Exeed ET – Chery’s first high-end energy SUV of the year – serves as a pathfinder in this battle of “no holds barred.”
Given the product and its positioning, Exeed ET has a tough road ahead. Not only does it need to maintain the high-end quality of Exeed ES, but also be shouldered with heavier sales responsibilities.
In fact, amidst the current price war, the sharpest tool in Chery’s arsenal for stepping up the transformation and gaining a foothold in the new energy market is simply sales.
At the recent Exeed ET launch, Yin Tongyue, the chairman of Chery, expressed his hopes for the Exeed ET to become a “disruptor” in the high-end pure electric SUV market.
Whether the Exeed ET can become a “disruptor” is of course a question mark, but what’s clear is that Chery is fully committed to mobilising their resources. They are making strides in bridging the mental gap between fuel and energy vehicles, continually innovating, and are already capable of crafting some more delicately intricate and warmly conceived designs with a “non-engineer male-style” of thinking – Chery is attempting to make a revolutionary breakthrough in the energy market through Exeed ET.
In essence, Chery harbors the ambition to create a blockbuster through Exeed ET.
Rumor has it that the Exeed ET will not only kick off pre-sales in the first quarter of this year but will also announce the launch of an extended version. In face of the current ruthless and chaotic state of the energy vehicle market,In the survival arena, Star Epoch ET is always prepared, and Chery’s fist is becoming tighter and tighter.
This article is a translation by AI of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.