GWM’s Ora 300 looks set to become South Africa’s cheapest electric car

Published Apr 18, 2023


Shanghai - Apart from load shedding concerns, South African buyers are currently steering well clear of electric cars because they’re so prohibitively expensive.

But things could shift in the right direction later this year when GWM introduces its first EV to South Africa, under the Ora sub-brand.

The first product to reach our shores will be the Ora 300, which is badged Funky Cat in most international markets. It’s likely to hit our shores after June this year.

IOL’s Willem van de Putte got a sneak peak while attending the Shanghai Auto Show on Tuesday, and although local pricing has yet to be confirmed, the GWM representatives said they’re aiming to bring it in beneath the Mini Cooper SE, which is currently SA’s cheapest electric car at R742 102.

Granted, even if they came in sub-R700 000, the Ora 300 would not be cheap by any means (remember, EV batteries are still somewhat expensive), but it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

With an overall length of 4 235 metres, the Ora 300 is similar in size to the Volkswagen T-Roc and Hyundai Kona, and that means it should be significantly more practical than the Mini, which can’t realistically serve as a family car.

Haval SA is also planning to introduce the larger Ora 400 fastback model to local shores.

Local specifics for the Ora 300 have yet to be revealed, but for what it’s worth the model is offered in international markets with a choice of two battery sizes, with the cheaper 48 kWh option allowing a claimed WLTP range of up to 310km and the flagship 63 kWh battery enabling up to 420km.

Performance should be relatively decent too, with the electric motor offering maximum outputs of 126kW and 250Nm.

Overseas models are packed with advanced safety features, and the model was also awarded with a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

Follow Willem van de Putte on Twitter for more updates from the Shanghai show.