It all started in February 2017, when the former head of the Chinese division of Volvo, Qian Fu, met with Mr. Feng Gu, the former CFO of SAIC Volkswagen. They were determined to become the Laurin and Clement of our day, and just a month later, construction began on the new Aiways plant in Shangzhao, Jiangxi Province. Today, the facility covers an area of 950 acres (385 hectares) and is capable of producing 150,000 electric vehicles per month. In the near future, the Chinese intend to double this value.
Despite such a short period of existence, the brand has managed to attract more than a billion dollars in investment. Today, the company employs about 700 employees
The firstborn of Aiways is a mid-size crossover with the U5 index, which went from idea to embodiment in metal and plastic in about a year. In order to work on this and future projects, the Chinese have attracted world-renowned specialists. The legendary German engineer Roland Gumpert, who previously headed Audi Motorsport and who gave this brand 35 years of his life, was invited to the position of Aiways Product Director. The brand’s design advisor is Ken Okuyama from Japan, who worked at Pininfarina and has worked on many Ferrari models.
An electric motor developing 140 kW (190 hp) and 315 Nm is located on the front (drive) axle, and a traction sandwich battery with a capacity of 65 kWh is mounted under the floor. The proportions of aluminum and high-strength steels in the body structure are equally divided. The front wheels drive the Aiways U5 Ion. The developers are still silent about the possibility of turning an electric car into an all-wheel drive.
A minimum amount of plastic is used in the interior trim. The familiar keys are completely absent: there are two large displays in front of the driver. One provides access to the multimedia system, and the second serves as a dashboard. A touch panel is used to control the temperature in the cabin.
The whole design of the car looks like from the future. The car has a pleasant spacious interior with three touchscreens and touchpads on the steering wheel spokes. For example, the door can be opened not with a key fob and not with a card in your pocket, but by scanning a handprint. All you need to get into the salon is to touch your palm to a special platform fixed on the window frame. The driver and passenger will appreciate the cup holders with the functions of cooling and heating the drink. An air purifier and lighting with a disinfection function will come in handy in 2020. There is no autopilot in this model yet, but adaptive cruise control with radar and camera is present.