Friday, 9 August 2019

See Photos Of This Chinese Electric Suv, Which Has A Weird Name And Equal Weirder Doors

Through the portals of the Human Horizons HiPhi 1, the Falcon doors of the Tesla Model X look normal. The fact that the most unlikely thing about Human Horizons HiPhi 1 is not his name  which is more about the high-five than retro-audio equipment could be considered an achievement. This is an electric SUV from a previously unknown startup that can reach up to 600 kilometers and
has self-defeating back-doors, gull wing roof hatches, and the promise to shut off autonomy immediately after launched in China in 2021.

While comparisons have already been made between several Chinese manufacturers and Tesla, Human Horizons appears to be on the rise, with HiPhi 1 being superior to Nio. The 1 is a three-row crossover that is just as long as a Range Rover with extended wheelbase. It is 204.8 inches long and can accommodate six power seats in the cab. The doors are electrically operated and have no handles: Access is either via a camera-based facial recognition system or via a trusted smartphone.

The rear doors are hinged. The wing doors in the roof open to facilitate access, 18 sensors ensure that they do not hit obstacles or get caught on anything when closing. They also can not be opened when it rains or when inmates in the back seats want a low-key entry (doors and gull-wing doors are referred to internally as "superstar" settings).

The other functions of the HiPhi are monitored by no less than 562 sensors. These range from mood-sensitive cameras in the cockpit to a complete suite of lidar and radar to enable piloted driving. According to Stanton, Human Horizons plans to offer level 3 autonomy and Level 4 shortly after launch. The car also supports C2X (Car-to-Infrastructure) communication, which allows intelligent roads to communicate directly with vehicles, warn of problems outside the sensor's range, or share traffic lights. The car at the start event also had a camera-based reversing system; Although this is not yet legal in China, there is hope that lobbying will change this before the start date.

In addition to the smart design, the HiPhi core architecture uses proven technology. The body is made of a mixture of steel and aluminum. Under the floor is a lithium-ion battery. Human Horizons claims a capacity of 96.0 kWh, although different sizes can be offered. The rear-wheel drive comes as standard with a 268-hp Bosch electric motor with a reduction gearbox with one speed. In a four-wheel drive version, the front axle is rotated by a second identical engine, resulting in a time of 3.9 seconds between zero and 62 miles per hour. According to Human Horizons, the HiPhi 1 will have a range of 400 miles according to the (generally optimistic) NEDC test protocol that China uses.

Human Horizons has leased a factory in Yangheng owned by Dongfeng Yueda Kia, a joint venture that manufactures Kia models. Although he would not talk about production models or pricing, Stanton insisted on "offering the Chinese market something he does not have right now," with the aim of taking a position in the upmarket Tesla segment. In fact, he refuses to call Tesla a true premium player: "I do not think a true premium brand would stand up to them." He confirms that the final plan envisages a number of different models and, beyond Chinese sales, exports to other parts of the world.

We have no idea which of the many actors in China's rush for electrification will thrive or even survive. However, it is becoming increasingly likely that at least some of them will become global players.

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