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Airways U5: Winter in an electric car from China

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Airways U5: Winter in an electric car from China

In wintry temperatures, the Aiways U5 has to prove its competence in terms of consumption, range and charging capacity. Winter time also means: The otherwise moderately frequented fast charger in the industrial area is hiding behind a traffic jam of electric cars, mostly equipped with roof boxes or ski racks. Most of the Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC have Dutch or Belgian license plates, their crews are on their way to or from vacation. Long-distance electromobility is therefore no longer a curiosity. This also applies to the Aiways U5. However, the Chinese electric SUV is still a relatively rare guest on our streets. Only about 3,000 units were sold in Europe in 2021. But what is quite remarkable when you consider that the manufacturing company was only founded in 2017. But the U5 is hardly noticeable in the group of e-SUVs. So the brand and model have already arrived and are accepted, at least among electromobility enthusiasts.

Electric drive with 150 kW (204 hp)

Before deducting the environmental bonus, the U5 costs from 38,970 euros. As an alternative to the basic model, there is a premium version, including an additional panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery with heated seats at the front, 19-inch rims and parking sensors at the front for 42,070 euros. Here you can then choose the color of the interior (beige or black), there are three paint options. The model program is kept clear. Let’s talk briefly about numbers: The electric motor that drives the front wheels delivers a maximum of 150 kW (204 hp). These values ​​correspond to those of the competitor VW ID.4, as does the torque of 310 Newton meters. The rated output of the drive in the U5 is 60 kW (82 hp). The Chinese reached an electronically limited top speed of 160 km/h without a long run-up. However, this should not be exhausted permanently in order not to let the hunger for electricity get out of hand. The lithium-ion battery supplied by CATL in the vehicle floor has a capacity of 63 kWh. In addition, the Aiways U5 offers a well-made, neatly designed interior in its 4.68 meter long body. The space available in the rear is particularly impressive. Even with the front seats all the way back, you could almost walk between the knees of the rear passengers and the backrests. But we don’t want to walk around, we want to charge the battery. The thermometer shows an outside temperature of 12 degrees. One or the other ski vacationer around us opens the zip of his ski sweater, the sun warms up even more. With 19.6 kWh per 100 kilometers, the Aiways U5 has proven efficiency in mixed driving, mostly in eco mode. At least that’s what the on-board computer says on one of the displays behind the steering wheel. This value is only slightly above the WLTP standard specification of 16.6 to 17.0 kWh per 100 kilometers.

Maximum 60 kW charging power in the test

Bernd Conrad The charging connection is under the left headlight on the Aiways U5. Not very practical: The CSS loader has to be rotated 90 degrees. The software is currently reporting a 14 percent state of charge. In purely mathematical terms, a range of almost 320 kilometers would be possible with a fully charged battery. The energy storage is preheated by a long journey and will not cool down. Because we know the place, we leave the charging station traffic jam and head for another location where no other car is charging. The charging connection of the Aiways U5 is located under the left headlight. The bulky cable of the fast charger can sometimes be plugged into the CCS socket quite awkwardly, as it has to be rotated 90 degrees. After a few minutes, the display on the charging station climbs to 60 kW for a short time, then drops back to 50 kW. A higher charging capacity could not be achieved. However, the 90 kW promised by the manufacturer can be achieved, at least in the summer. As soon as the outside temperature falls below ten degrees, the power consumption of the Aiways U5 increases, as with many other electric cars. With the same driving profile, it averages 28.5 kWh per 100 kilometers. The range drops accordingly, more than 220 kilometers are no longer possible. The consumption increases, but the charging capacity decreases. At values ​​just below freezing point, the battery of the U5 draws direct current with no more than 40 kW from the fast charger. Theoretically, 6.6 kW is possible at public charging stations in urban areas or at home wall boxes. In reality, however, single-phase charging means a maximum output of 4.6 kW. Charging stops with an AC connection therefore take time. Which doesn’t matter to Aiways drivers who can charge their car at night at home or at the office during working hours. By the way, in front of the garage at home, the Aiways U5 gets the attention that a still new model from a young brand deserves: Walkers regularly stop, sneak around the car, look through the window and even take photos.

Conclusion

The Chinese electric SUV Aiways U5 offers plenty of space, extensive equipment and good workmanship. The maximum 150 kW (204 hp) electric drive is efficient as long as the outside temperatures do not drop too much. The range is noticeably reduced below ten degrees. In winter, the promised charging capacity of 90 kW is also not achieved under ideal conditions. The U5 also shares this with many other electric cars


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