Chevrolet has finally launched the long-announced Menlo, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle for the Chinese market. Unfortunately for it, it arrives in the midst of a coronavirus crisis that has caused new-car sales to slow to a near-complete stop in the country. Its horrific timing notwithstanding, the unveiling of the model tells us more about it, and what components from it may eventually make it to North American Chevys.
Firstly, in terms of pricing, a little bit of quick math reveals that the Menlo is being offered at a more advantageous price than the Chevrolet Bolt, once you factor in the relevant discounts. Comparisons like this should be taken with a grain of salt, as there are many considerations that go into pricing a model, but it does give an idea, and it provides hope that more-affordable electric vehicles will be available in the not-too-distant future.
Four trim levels are on the menu. In terms of power, the 110 kW motor translates into 147 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is less than what the Bolt offers with itsh 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque (from a 150-kW motor).
We knew already that the Menlo shares most of its elements with the Buick Velite 6, currently sold on the Chinese market. That SUV comes equipped with a 52.5-kWh battery for a range of 410 km according to the new European cycle. The estimated range would be less here, perhaps 300 km.
The battery can be recharged to 80% of its capacity in 40 minutes with a DC fast terminal. In addition, driving modes are proposed, as well as three energy recovery modes.
This vehicle, an evolution of the FNR-X concept unveiled in 2017, is described by Chevrolet as a sporty-looking sedan with sporty SUV and coupe styling. On board, there are 28 storage compartments and 1,076 litres of cargo volume. A panoramic sunroof, an ultra-slim 10.1-inch LCD touch screen and an 8-inch (colour) LCD dashboard are among the other highlights of the interior.
Safety technologies on board include a Bosch electronic stability program, forward collision and lane departure alerts and automatic parking. The Menlo is equipped with LED headlights and position lights and 17-inch dual-colour wheels.
General Motors (GM) has promised to introduce at least 20 new electric and fuel cell models in the United States and China by 2023, with a new electric vehicle platform and advanced battery system scheduled for 2021.
As we know, the Menlo is not planned for our market. However, it’s the EV elements and components with in that interest us, especially considering GM's plans for electrification.