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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

GWM Ora’s frugal ‘fuel’ economy can’t justify its hefty pricetag

In GT guise, this all-electric car can get 100km on R60, but will set you back R835 950.

GWM proudly proclaimed that their Ora range offered the country’s most affordable all-electric vehicle (EV) when it was launched at the end of last year.

Fast forward a few months and nothing has changed. The Chinese carmaker still offers the most affordable local EV in the form of the GWM Ora. But affordable remains a very skewed term in South Africa.

I have just spent two weeks running around all over the place with the top of the range GT model. It will cost you around R18 500 per month off your take-home salary for the next five years. So, one man’s affordability is clearly another man’s idea of a lottery win. But again, this is not anything to do with GWM. It’s simply the state of our economy.

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GWM Ora GT gets bigger battery

With the price of petrol and diesel forever going up, where you will feel like you are winning all the time though, is when it comes to “filling up” your GWM Ora. Being the GT, you get the bigger 63 kWh battery (the entry level models get a 48 kWh unit) and a claimed range of up to 420 km in a perfect computer-controlled world. But we live in the real world. Just like with petrol and diesel driven cars, these claims don’t mean much to you and me. The best The Citizen Motoring saw was a range of 322 km after fully charging our GWM Ora GT.

The GWM Ora GT tops the four-model range. Picture: GWM

This said, without trying to save “fuel”, or conserve “energy”, or whatever term you feel most comfortable using, the onboard computer showed that our consumption over the two-week test period had settled on 18.4 kWh per 100 km. I will save you the maths of working out what this means to your wallet. Charged at the price I pay for electricity at my home, doing 100 km cost me a mere R60. In petrol and diesel terms, the GWM Ora GT used less than 2.5 litres per 100 km.

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What might be more important than these savings, is the little things you need to understand when it comes to living peacefully with an EV. Charging an EV out of routine is not a quick thing. Rather put your EV on charge when you get home each night like you do your cell phone, and that way you won’t be caught out by load shedding and without charge when you need to go somewhere in hurry.

Fast comes at a price

The faster you need to get electricity into your EV, the more it is going to cost you. Charging at home is the slowest by far, but also the cheapest. Make use of one of the high output rapid public chargers, that can get the job done in less than hour to maybe two hours max if you hadn’t listened to my first piece of advice, and you must be prepared to pay closer to R6 per kWh.

GWM Ora GT interior
The interior of the GWM Ora. Picture: GWM

To wrap up, on offer is 126 kW of power and 250 Nm of instant torque, as is a full suite of luxury. And just about every intelligent driving system known to humanity.

Priced at R835 950, the GWM Ora GT is a decent all-round package if it is an EV you must have. But for this kind of money, you are going to be lured into everything from hot hatches to compact SUVs, to double cab bakkies first.

ALSO READ: ‘Affordable’ small Opel EV confirmed as Adam successor

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