The 2021 Shanghai motor show offered its fair share of oddities, and certainly the names of debut models kept Western audiences asking what was in the water at Shanghai.
Those names, in case you were wondering, aren’t just flimsy Google translations either. Ora’s whole brand appears to be pivoting to a cat theme, with the Good Cat, White Cat and Black Cat already on sale, and plenty of cat-themed iconography throughout the brand's marketing materials.
In the case of the Lightning Cat, Ora presents a four-door fastback with a rounded overall form but a much more athletic stance than the comparatively upright Punk Cat.
Up front the Lightning Cat wears a variation of the Good Cat’s bug-eyed face, and at the rear is another set of rounded lighting units, filled with detailed LED internals.
Although the design itself is less of a copycat than some others, there appears to be plenty of borrowed elements and re-interpretations of other designs. While the Punk cat may be the more overtly retro of the two, there's plenty of 1990s-era concept car design cues at work here.
In order to accentuate the body side sculpting, Ora has given the show car a matte silver paint job with unmissable gloss gold body highlights. We can’t help but think the overall proportions would be greatly improved by a single-tone colour scheme.
The interior carries through a similarly curvaceous design, finished in tan leather with deep-set instruments ahead of the driver, a free-standing widescreen infotainment system, touch-control climate panel and liberal use of ‘Conceptcat’ badging in English throughout.
Hinting at a premium position for the Lightning cat are a four-seater cabin with individual bucket seats, and a full glass roof – though whether all those elements survive to production remains to be seen.
As for technical details, Ora has kept a lid on the Lightning Cat’s finer details though what it did reveal hints at far greater performance potential than any of Ora's current product rage. Apart from disclosing a claimed four-second 0-100km/h time from a dual-motor EV drivetrain, other details like size, power outputs and battery capacity weren’t revealed at the Lightning Cat's unveiling.
One of the listed highlights did suggest that the Lightning Cat’s cobalt-free battery back would be capable of charging from 20 per cent to 80 percent in nine minutes, though without listing the required rate of charge.
Ora did, however, talk about AI-based cabin support systems that can monitor occupants’ temperate and pulse rate and adjust cabin comfort to suit. Other tech highlights listed include intelligent automated parking support and omni-directional super sensing driver support.
The Lightning Cat is also claimed to have Level 3+ autonomous driving capabilities, which means the car should be capable of controlling brakes, acceleration and steering largely unaided, though may still require human intervention in some situations.