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- ph: Human Horizons media

Introducing the HiPhi 1: a 400-mile range electric SUV from China

This is the HiPhi 1, an all-electric SUV made by Human Horizons, a Chinese start-up.

Now normally, whenever we’re presented with a new car made by an unknown and untested manufacturer or company, most people are naturally inclined to say “cool!” and then forget all about it and move on to the next thing after five minutes. Having said that, there are at least a couple of good reasons why this Model X-looking thing might be worth a second look.

Ding Lei and Kevin Chen, the founders of Human Horizons, have occupied key positions at Ford and GM, among others, for several years and the car was developed with the help of Mark Stanton, who has previously worked at Ford and JLR, and that's good news because it means that experienced people have worked on this. The HiPhi 1 will be powered by electric motors with a combined power output of 268 hp, good enough for a claimed 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds and, this is crucial, a claimed range of 400 miles. That’s quite ambitious, to be honest, but not impossible and well, 400-mile range is what they claim so let’s just assume it can do that.

This six-seater SUV, which also has gullwing doors is ultra-super-mega-connected. It has 5G connectivity, which the company says can be utilized to connect the car with smart cities (we’re living in odd times, I know) and the car features things like facial recognition and Level 3 Autonomy, which when translated from Geek to English means the car is capable of taking full control during pre-selected parts of the journey when certain conditions are met.

I don’t think there’s any point denying that the Model X provided inspiration for this car because quite apart from the looks and the doors, the HiPhi 1 should also feature something called “parade mode”, you press a button and only the gullwings open. I'm just saying. Except that I think this looks better than a Model X. There’s more tech stuff and pointless but cool features like the lights, for example, which can be programmed to beam specific patterns on the road and in the vehicle. Plus there are nine screens, which theoretically means you can watch every instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise at once. (Can you? I’ve lost count).

Production is expected to start in 2021 and pricing is still unknown.

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