The first electric ute in Australia could come from China, with Great Wall confirming the pure-electric version of its new ute was "always" in its plans.
Timing hasn't been confirmed, but Haval Australia's managing director Koma Li says Great Wall will take the as-yet unnamed electric pickup despite of our market's reticence to adopt battery-powered vehicles.
"The EV pickup is always in our plan for right-hand drive markets," he said, faced with media from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
"What we see is a global model, it's not only in China... right-hand drive markets are also very important," he continued.
"EVs are in our plan. In terms of time and price, we don't have an indication."
Electric vehicles account for a tiny slice of the Australian car market right now. Last month, just 23 electric vehicles found a home, while the segment represented a piddling 0.3 per cent of the carpark. That figure excludes Tesla, which is above reporting to VFACTS...
Great Wall accepts sales might be slow, but appears willing to accept sluggish performance on the charts in return for the brand-building value a pure-electric ute represents.
“I agree that still, in terms of sales, it’s very limited in Australia right now,” Li conceded.
“But in terms of the brand image, I see EVs as an opportunity for us to be the first batch of Chinese brands to introduce EV products so we can catch attention from customers and prepare for the next step of growth.
“In terms of the brand image, I think it’s very important to prepare earlier.”
It’ll offer 335km of range, and we have our fingers crossed for a starting price somewhere in the $40k realm.
Great Wall's plug-in ute, on the other hand, will offer 500km of range from its two-wheel drive powertrain. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid partners for the EV are in the works, along with a fuel-cell vehicle.