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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

Priced GWM Ora 03 becomes South Africa’s most affordable EV

Undercutting the Mini Cooper SE by R96 550, the Ora also has more range, features and according to GWM, will need R300 at the maximum to charge.

Great Wall Motors (GWM), after making the announcement earlier this year, has officially introduced the Ora as South Africa’s cheapest new all-electric vehicle.

‘Cost-effective’ tag still makes sense

Based on the Ora Funky Cat, but simply known as the Ora 03, and sold as a GWM rather than under the Ora brand as in China, the quirky 03 kicks-off at R686 950 before topping-out at R835 950 for the top-spec GT.

Despite its ‘most affordable electric vehicle’, many will stiff scoff at the idea of forking out more than R500 000 for an electric vehicle supposedly meant to be priced at R300 000 to be really affordable.

That, though, is never happening in South Africa, and certainly not with a car that offers all that the Ora offers.

ALSO READ: WATCH: GWM Ora emits silent pulling power at Nampo reveal

Almost eight-million South Africans are unemployed, and of the ones that are employed, millions earn minimum wage, and a much smaller pocket of the elite earn huge, with the average salary then said to work out to about R30 000 per month.

And with this kind of salary, you might be able to just afford that R300 000 car but would need to earn over R50 000 per month to put an Ora in your garage.

But this is not GWM’s fault, nor is it their fault that high taxes and zero incentives for electric vehicles from our government adds some 40% to the price of our cars.

GWM prices Ora 03 in South Africa
Depicted 400 GT Super Luxury tops the Ora 03 range. Image: GWM

Making us one of the most expensive car markets in the world, while our diminishing income and rising cost of living also leaves us with the worst car price to disposable income ratio on the planet.

This out the way, what does the Ora offer and how does it drive? From a safety and spec perspective, you want for nothing with Euro NCAP rating it as the safest car in its class, and a everything you can think of from heated and cooled, electric massage seats, to wireless charging and automated parking.

I was massively impressed with all that was to offer, with the only negative being that you need a bit of patience and practice to figure out the best way to operate everything via the two 10.25-inch displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system.

The EV hardware

In total, the Ora range consists of four models; the 300 Super Luxury, 400 Super Luxury, 400 Ultra Luxury and the 400 GT Ultra Luxury.

While the former is powered by a 48-kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery and the latter trio by a 63-kWh nickel battery pack, both produce 126kW/250Nm delivered to the front wheels only.

In the confines of the Kyalami Grand Prix where the local launch took place, the outputs translate to a pleasant drive, with enough urge for most urban and open road situations, while also being quite nimble for a 1.5-ton electric car.

The big push around the Ora is cost per km. In this regard, the 300 Super Luxury has a claimed consumption of 16.7-kWh per 100 km and a range of 310 km, while the 400 Super Luxury will travel 420 km with a claimed electric usage of 16.5-kWh,


At the range’s summit, the 400 GT Ultra Luxury is said to deliver 20 km less, at 400 km due to a slightly higher battery consumption, making it easily the best range-per-rand of any electric vehicle in South Africa.

According to GWM, charging the 300 will take 50 minutes from a 64 kW DC charger and exactly one hour in the case of 400 GT.

GWM prices Ora 03 in South Africa
400 GT Super Luxury tops the Ora 03 range. Image: GWM

With the standard 11 kW on-board charger in operation though, a waiting time of 5.5 hours will be required for the 300 Super Luxury.

Based on GWM estimations, between R170 to R250 will be needed to fully charge a Ora from a household socket. Opting for a DC charger will see this increase to between R250 and R300.

The specs

In terms of specification, the 300 and 400 Super Luxury variants come fitted with the following as standard:

GWM prices Ora 03 in South Africa
400 GT Super Luxury sports model specific red accents inside. Image: GWM
  • wireless smartphone charger;
  • electric leatherette seats with the fronts being electric;
  • 18-inch alloy wheels;
  • LED headlights;
  • Keyless entry;
  • surround-view camera system;
  • 10.25-inch infotainment system;
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto;
  • 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster;
  • rear parking sensors;
  • Adaptive Cruise Control

On top of this, the 400 Ultra Luxury receives a panoramic sunroof, folding electric mirrors, an electric tailgate and heating as well as ventilation and massaging functions for the front seats.

Rounding the range off, the Ora 03 400 GT Ultra Luxury boasts a hands-free electric tailgate and model specific 18-inch alloy wheels, GT bumpers and door sills, a GT grille, red brake callipers and launch control.

Boot space and safety

Regardless of the trim level, the Ora 03 has a claimed boot space of 228-litres that extends 858-litres with the rear seats folded down.

Across all grades, the Ora 03’s array of safety and driver assistance system consists of the following:

  • Secondary Collision Mitigation;
  • Roll Movement Intervention;
  • Electronic Stability Control;
  • tyre pressure monitor;
  • traction control

Reserved for the 400 GT is Automatic Parking, Traffic Sign Recognition, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Traffic Jam Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Intersection Assist, Lane Change Assist and Lane Departure Warning, as well as:

  • a panoramic 360-degree camera;
  • Lane Keep Assist;
  • Front and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Automatic Braking;
  • Lane Centring Assist

Also standard across four models is a drive mode selector with four settings; Eco, Eco+, Standard and Sport, and three modes for the steering; Light, Comfort and Sport.

Colours and Price

Finally, GWM offers six colour choices for the Ora 03; Hamilton White, Sun Black, Mars Red, EM Beige, LB Green, HR Blue, L5 Green and KU Grey reserved excessively for the 400 Super Luxury.

Standard across the Ora 03 range is a seven-year/200 000 km warranty, a seven-year/105 000 km service plan and an eight-year/150 000 km battery warranty

  • Ora 03 300 Super Luxury – R686 950
  • Ora 03 400 Super Luxury – R775 950
  • Ora 03 400 Ultra Luxury – R805 950
  • Ora 03 400 GT Ultra Luxury – R835 950

NOW READ: GWM Ora debuting at Nampo as South Africa’s cheapest new EV

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