PETALING JAYA: The Ora Good Cat is selling well in Thailand and it is only a matter of time before it makes its official debut on this side of the border.
Well, the time is near. The Good Cat will launch in Malaysia in November. Word is that the hatchback would be offered in at least two variants and indicative pricing is from RM150,000 to RM180,000.
So, still not as affordable to the masses as we had hoped, and continuing to bolster the point that the early batches of electric cars are only for the well-to-do.
For reference, the 5-seat Good Cat is sold in Thailand in three variants (Tech, Pro and Ultra) with prices from just under RM100,000 to around RM120,000 as a result of the latest government perks to promote EV usage there.
Like the Thai situation, Malaysian customers would get the car in fully imported form first. Local assembly is expected to start at a later stage.
Ora is the electric sub-brand of Great Wall Motor, which announced its arrival as the principal in July with the formation of Great Wall Motor (GWM) Sales Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
To create even more buzz ahead of the Good Cat's official launch, Great Wall Motor held a test-drive event from Oct 26-27 at the sprawling Gamuda Cove township in Banting.
Members of the media were split into two groups and slotted into one of the two dates to try out the Ultra variant, which touts a 500km range (NEDC) and a 63.1 kWh ternary lithium battery.
The other battery configuration is a 47.8-kWh lithium-iron phosphate battery offering 400km range.
An electric motor powers the front axle in both cases.
Prior to hitting the open road, the 1.5-tonne Good Cat showed its moves in a slalom course that also included emergency braking maneouvres.
Then it was time to take the Good Cat out on the open road towards Putrajaya. The 70km round trip involved driving the Good Cat over highways and twisty back roads to showcase the car's dynamic abilities.
The retro-modern design of the Good Cat along with its two-tone body that's echoed in a minimalist interior is attractive. Some of its features will make one go: "Ehh! This looks familiar. I have seen it in another car before." Examples are the daytime running lights, the toggle switches and the quilted lining on the doors. The bodyshape is also reminiscent of several other compact cars on the road.
The drive on the whole was competently handled. The 105kW/210Nm motor is not exceptionally powerful but it gets the job done in moving the car off at a brisk pace.
Acceleration is progressive and smooth and body roll is well restrained with a firm suspension that's also to offset the weight of the battery under the floor.
More details on the Good Cat's driving manners will be forthcoming on Nov 3.