The unveiling of the GAC Aion Hyper GT in China's electric vehicle (EV) market is an interesting addition worth noting. Launched by GAC New Energy's now standalone sub-brand, Aion, the Hyper GT ventures into a competitive segment of the Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) market, which has shown promising growth recently.
Sporting a unique design language characteristic of the Aion Hyper series, the Hyper GT presents a striking figure on the road with features such as scissor doors, a low-slung bonnet, and flush door handles. A particular attention-grabber is the vehicle's low drag coefficient of 0.197 Cd, courtesy of the sleek design. The interior hosts an impressive array of tech features including a 14.6-inch touch screen, an 8.8-inch LCD instrument panel, and a Dolby Atmos sound system.
One of the talking points around the Hyper GT is the powertrain options. It ranges from a base model with a single motor delivering 245 hp to a top-end variant that provides a potent 340 hp. However, it's the inclusion of a swappable battery that adds an interesting twist. Only one model of the Hyper GT supports this feature, and it's where we encounter a notable caveat. GAC's current infrastructure for battery swapping is limited with only eight operational stations across China, which may curtail the practicality of this option.
GAC plans to ramp up its battery swap stations significantly in the coming years, aiming for 500 stations by 2025. This is a substantial number, but whether they can achieve it is another matter, considering the scaling back from an initial aim of 1,000 stations. Furthermore, there's the question of the efficiency and sustainability of this model in the long term.
The performance aspect of the GAC Aion Hyper GT offers an intriguing mix of options tailored to cater to a range of driver preferences. The entry-level model, equipped with a single electric motor that provides 245 hp (180 kW) and 262 lb-ft of torque, offers a respectable 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of 6.5 seconds. This model uses a 60 kWh ternary (NMC) battery capable of delivering an impressive 348 miles range.
However, the standout performer is undoubtedly the top-end variant. This version boasts a more potent electric motor producing 340 hp (250 kW) and 317 lb-ft of torque. It can propel the Hyper GT from 0 to 100 km/h in a brisk 4.9 seconds, offering a range of up to 441 miles on a single charge courtesy of an 80 kWh battery. If it sounds like a lot of mileage from a rather small battery, it's because these are CLTC numbers. If you were to believe CLTC, you could drive all the way from Beijing to Paris on one charge.
Pricing-wise, the Hyper GT has a broad range, starting from $30,370 and going up to $46,950. While the entry-level price might seem attractive, especially for a vehicle with such a daring design and decent performance, it's worth considering that several competitors in the market offer similar vehicles at lower price points.
While the GAC Aion Hyper GT is an appealing entrant to the Chinese EV market with its combination of style, performance, and innovative features, it also faces significant challenges. Its success will hinge on how it fares against established competitors, and whether GAC can successfully implement its ambitious plans for a battery-swapping network.