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U5

  • The first EV from a Chinese startup to go on sale in Europe
  • All-electric, zero-emission SUV currently on sale in six European markets; more to follow soon
  • Standard model available from €38,990*
  • 63kWh battery provides over 400km range (WLTP)
  • U5 features proprietary ‘sandwich’ structure battery pack for optimal performance and safety
  • New color range, improved interior and tech features

Aiways, the Shanghai-based personal mobility provider, has updated its all-electric U5 SUV with a facelift for 2021. U5 was originally launched to the German market in September 2020, with other countries such as France, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy quickly following. The U5 was the first electric vehicle (EV) from a Chinese startup to go on sale in Europe. Its entrance provided Europeans with an exciting and well-equipped SUV in the growing but option-limited EV market.

 

The 2021 model year version of U5 has been upgraded with strong, contrasting colors on the grill and body kit for a sportier look. Paintwork options include ‘electric blue’, ‘aubergine’ and ‘glacier white’. The addition of convenience features such as an electric tailgate with foot sensor, haptic feedback buttons, wireless smartphone charging, keyless entry and charge cable brings the U5 specification on a par with key competitors in the EV market.

 

With sharp and striking design features, the U5 looks the part. Its bold presence is intended to mark an exciting beginning for Aiways and establish the brand’s design language. Beneath its dynamic surface lies a unique electric powertrain and some of the most advanced automotive technology available today.

 

With a 400 km (410 km standard trim) range (WLTP) from its DC fast-charging compatible 63kWh battery, the Aiways U5 offers the best price-to-range ratio in the European all-electric SUV market. The battery unit is the first of its kind, designed and developed at Aiways’ own R&D center in Jiading, Shanghai. The U5’s electric motor produces 150kW and 310Nm of torque, giving the zero-emission SUV the performance to confidently accelerate from 0-100km/hr in 7.5 seconds.

 

By visiting Aiways’ European website www.ai-ways.eu, EV buyers can discover everything they need to know about the U5 and configure a vehicle to suit their needs.

 

The new U5 all-electric SUV is available via a direct-to-customer sales model or traditional dealerships, depending on the market. In France, Germany, and the Netherlands, Aiways is focusing on online sales and placing less emphasis on physical outlets. Meanwhile, Denmark and Belgium are also offering the ‘traditional’ automotive retail experience via physical dealerships.

 

In markets where the ‘direct-to-customer’ sales model is employed, Aiways has partnered with local retail experts in each market to enable physical interaction with Aiways vehicles and conduct test drives. When ordered online, the new U5 is delivered to customers via these partners’ delivery networks.

 

Aftersales care in Europe, including technical support and servicing, will come from a network of established in-country specialists who have received training and guidance on the U5 and its advanced systems. With scheduled U5 maintenance every 100,000km, working with local partners will be a far more effective means of servicing customer vehicles than establishing a new Aiways aftersales network throughout the region.

 

Aiways set up a 12,000 square meter parts warehouse just outside Amsterdam in November 2020. The dedicated site, strategically placed to benefit from the European transport network, will provide over 600 spare parts to Aiways partners across Europe. Their chosen logistics partner Lux-mate Europe BV aims to provide rapid support, delivering parts to customers within one to three days.

 

The updated U5 will be available in two trim levels: Standard and Premium. While the advanced systems and driving performance are shared between them, the higher-end models offer some material, aesthetic and comfort enhancements.

 

Alex Klose, EVP of Overseas Markets at Aiways, explained: “We are thrilled to be bringing the updated U5 to the European market. When we entered Europe with the original U5 last year, we knew there were very few zero-emission mid-size SUV options available, despite demand for electric vehicles rising. With changing legislation and improved public perception and our advances in technology, now is the ideal time to be in several European markets with such a compelling and accessible product.”

Novel powertrain

The design brief for the Aiways U5 powertrain required a new level of intelligent engineering and performance not yet seen on a battery electric vehicle in the European mid-size SUV segment. This was an influential factor in Aiways’ decision to design and produce its own battery packs, with the company looking to set new benchmarks for efficiency, range, and performance.

 

All-new battery design

With a capacity of 63kWh, the battery unit in the Aiways U5 is capable of delivering enough charge to cover more than 400 km (410 standard trim) according to the WLTP cycle. For the ultimate convenience, the U5’s battery can be rapid-charged from 20% to 80% in just 35minutes using a DC charger. It can also charge from 0% to 100% in less than 10 hours using a (6.6kW Type 2) AC charger for overnight at-home recharging.

 

The U5 achieves its impressive performance thanks to a state-of-the-art ‘sandwich’ structure battery pack, comprised of 24 high energy density modules supplied by CATL. The battery and electronics were designed by the in-house team at Aiways. This patented sandwich structure is the first of its kind in the world, further demonstrating the company’s pioneering R&D capabilities. It also includes an intelligent thermal management system developed and patented by Aiways that significantly improves thermal efficiency.

 

The sandwich battery structure gets its name from the multi-layer protection separating dry and wet areas within the cell. The patented ‘sandwich’ structure differs from traditional automotive battery packs in that it adds an isolation plate between the battery module (dry zone) and the cooling plate (wet zone). The principal benefit of this arrangement is that it dramatically improves vehicle safety and battery efficiency by ensuring efficient cooling and preheating, which in turn enables greater capacity and therefore, an increased range. Even after eight years, the battery pack still supplies a minimum of 75% of its original capacity.

 

The separation also means that it is impossible for leaking coolant to enter the battery module, even following a substantial impact that could cause the battery to become misshapen or broken. This avoids the risk of fire or explosion caused by a short circuit.

 

To further improve safety, a shock protection space is incorporated into the ‘sandwich’ design. This 15mm space separates the bottom of the battery pack plate and the battery module, giving the module an additional layer of protection in the event of an impact and reducing the risk of damage.

 

This impact protection space also functions as partial insulation, reducing the rate of heat transfer between the external environment and the battery module. Extensive cold weather testing has demonstrated that it provides a much-improved energy storage capacity in winter conditions. Using this novel battery design, the U5 was able to achieve a real-world range of close to 300km at below 0 degrees celsius. The insulation also means that once the battery is warm, through either charging or discharge, it retains enough heat for optimum operation.

 

Advanced E-Drive system

The energy-dense ‘sandwich’ battery pack is mated to Aiways’ unique power unit. Developed in house by Aiways, the car’s permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor is a powerful engine that unleashes impressive performance;150 kW (204hp) and maximum torque of 310Nm guarantee dynamic responsiveness, coupled with maximum efficiency and zero emissions

 

The unit is smoothly integrated into the Aiways U5’s lightweight, rigid construction. This peak motor speed is 25% higher than average for current production EVs, meaning that the motor can be smaller and lighter, resulting in a high-power density of 172Wh/kg, with a battery power of 63kWh.

 

The E-Drive system, which includes the electric motor, gearbox, and inverter, is the most compact design currently offered by any EV manufacturer. It is 15% smaller than similar systems and has been designed from the outset to fit a variety of different vehicle applications in A, B or C-segment cars. The E-Drive system in the U5 is mounted at the front of the vehicle for front-wheel drive but E-Drive also has the potential to be configured for rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. To minimize size and weight, a single-speed reduction gearbox is integrated within the electric motor housing.

 

Power delivery and battery management are controlled centrally by the Vehicle Control Unit (VCU). The U5 offers three distinct driving modes, “Eco”, “Normal” and “Sport”, giving the driver varying levels of throttle response and performance.

Intelligent technology

L2+ autonomous driving

Occupant and pedestrian safety are top priorities for Aiways. Extensive virtual and physical testing was conducted to ensure the U5 met high safety standards. The U5 is fitted with 22 sensors comprised of 12 ultrasonic radars, five high-definition cameras, three millimeter-wave radars and two indoor cameras to provide Level 2 autonomy and real-time analysis of external traffic conditions. The data collected is used by the U5’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to improve safety and give occupants total peace of mind.

 

A lane departure prevention system not only warns the driver if they are about to stray from their lane but also makes small adjustments to the steering if the driver does not respond to the warning. When the vehicle deviates from the lane above speeds of 60km/h (37mph), the system will issue an alarm in advance to avoid traffic accidents and will automatically adjust the car back to the middle of the lane.

 

To further reduce the risk of collision, the U5 is fitted with a blind-spot warning system, alerting the driver when a vehicle or cyclist is passing alongside the vehicle. A Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system warns the driver when a vehicle is about to pass behind the U5.

 

Aiways has equipped the U5 with Auto Emergency Braking (AEB), which automatically applies the car’s brakes when a pedestrian, cyclist or vehicle passes in front of the car. This works alongside a cyclist warning system that alerts occupants if they are in danger of opening their door into the path of a passing cyclist.

 

For added convenience, the Aiways U5 is offered with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which not only maintains a safe space from the vehicle in front but can also bring the vehicle to a halt when traffic ahead stops. Intelligent High Beam Control (IHBC) automatically operates the vehicle’s high-beam headlights when driving on dark roads, while the U5’s Parking Assistant system is another practical addition, automatically maneuvering the vehicle into a parking space at the touch of a button.

 

Advanced power management system

 

The advanced power management system in the Aiways U5 provides worry-free driving, as it enables the all-electric SUV to achieve a range of 400 km (410km standard trim) (WLTP), which can cover more than 90% of daily usage scenarios.

 

The high-energy lightweight battery pack is mated to Aiways’ unique power unit. The electric motor develops a peak power of 150kW and 310Nm of torque at a maximum 16,000rpm. The unit is smoothly integrated into the Aiways U5’s lightweight, rigid construction. This peak motor speed is 25% higher than average for current production EVs, meaning that the motor can be smaller and lighter, resulting in a high-power density of 172Wh/kg, with a battery power of 63kWh.

 

The smooth and enclosed vehicle front, extended air curtain aisles, hidden charging port cover, hidden exterior door handles, and dual-airflow spoiler all contribute to the outstanding aerodynamic design of the Aiways U5. The wind drag can be as low as 0.29Cd, meaning that the U5 travels more seamlessly on the road, improving its performance and battery range.

 

With the BOSCH ESP 9.3HEV and iBooster Gen2 braking system, the energy recuperation rate can achieve 100% when accelerating up to 0.3g, which could extend the mileage by 15% to 20%. In addition, the iBooster braking system assists with the U5’s ADAS systems, such as ACC, APA, AEB, and other Autopilot functions.

 

The vehicle’s lightweight body also enables it to achieve its high battery range. The U5’s body consists of steel upper part and aluminum alloy lower part, with aviation class level connection tech to achieve a sturdy  and lightweight structure. The result is a vehicle with a curb weight of 1,720 kg for the Standard version – much lighter than other mid-size SUVs despite the 370kg, 63kWh battery – improving power economy and reducing energy consumption.

 

Charging capabilities

With a capacity of 63kWh, the battery unit in the Aiways U5 is capable of delivering enough charge to cover up to 400km, according to the WLTP cycle. For the ultimate convenience, the U5’s battery can be rapid-charged from 20% to 80%, up to 90kW, in just 35 minutes using a DC charger. It can also charge from 0% to 100% in less than ten hours using a (6.6kW Type 2) AC charger for overnight at-home recharging.

 

Aiways vehicles comply with the EU charging standard, meaning that the U5 can connect to most charging stations across Europe, avoiding range anxiety while on longer journeys.

 

Integrated Technology

The Aiways U5 uses pioneering engineering and technology to offer class-leading safety, outstanding build quality, and an engaging driving experience. At the heart of this ethos is Aiways’ innovative, modular and scalable MAS platform.

 

Developed by Aiways engineering team in China, the car’s body in white (BIW) uses a 52% aluminum and 48% high-strength steel mix. The steel used is extremely strong – around four times stronger than conventional high-strength steel. Pioneering bonding, casting and forming techniques make the chassis around 50% stiffer than equivalent steel construction.

 

Aluminum high pressure die casting allowed Aiways to reduce part count, saving time and development cost. It also created a lighter and more rigid overall construction. The result is a vehicle with a curb weight of 1,720-1,770 kg, including a 63kWh battery. This gives the U5 greater range and improved efficiency without compromising its precise and fun handling characteristics.

 

Technology engineered for safety

Occupant and pedestrian safety are critical. Extensive virtual and physical testing was conducted to ensure the U5 met high safety standards. It is also fitted with a number of innovative safety and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to give the driver and occupants total peace of mind.

 

A lane departure prevention system not only warns the driver if they are about to stray from their lane but also makes small adjustments to the steering if the driver does not respond to the warning. Between speeds of 60km/h (37mph) and 120km/h (75mph) Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) maintains the vehicle position in the middle of the lane and makes an audible warning if the driver’s hands are off the steering wheel for more than eight seconds

 

The traffic jam assistant makes driving easier, especially in congested traffic. The system automatically handles the cycle of acceleration, braking and restarting – and can even handle steering maneuvers within certain limits. The traffic jam assistant remains active at speeds of up to 120 km/h.

 

To further reduce the risk of collision, the U5 is fitted with a Blind-spot Detection (BSD) system, alerting the driver with a sound and warning light when a vehicle or cyclist is passing alongside the vehicle. A Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system warns the driver when a vehicle is about to pass behind the U5.

 

Aiways has equipped the U5 with Auto Emergency Braking (AEB), which automatically applies the car’s brakes when a pedestrian, cyclist or vehicle passes in front of the car. This works alongside a cyclist warning system that alerts occupants if they are in danger of opening their door into the path of a passing cyclist.

 

Using radar and forward-facing cameras, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) detects vehicles and pedestrians in front of you. If your car closes in on another vehicle or a pedestrian at a speed of more than 10 km/h, an alarm will sound. A notification will also appear on your combined touchscreen, reminding you to slow down and maintain a safe distance.

 

For added convenience, the Aiways U5 is offered with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which not only maintains a safe space from the vehicle in front but can also bring the vehicle to a halt when traffic ahead stops. Intelligent High Beam Control (IHBC) automatically operates the vehicle’s high-beam headlights, while the U5’s Parking Assistant system is another practical addition, automatically maneuvering the vehicle into a parking space at the touch of a button.

 

Safety testing was part of the U5’s European homologation process, with Aiways successfully achieving certification in September 2019. With the support of independent test provider TÜV Rheinland, the U5 passed all safety aspects, including pedestrian protection and frontal and side collision occupant protection.

 

The Aiways U5 became the first electric vehicle from a Chinese startup to be tested by Euro NCAP in December 2019, achieving three stars. NCAP found the U5 to be structurally safe, and Aiways has addressed and resolved the other issues highlighted in the testing.

 

In addition to the carefully developed active safety features, U5 encompasses numerous passive safety features as standard. Specifically, Aiways has updated software that controls the timing of driver, front passenger, side and curtain airbag deployment, offering greater occupant protection in the event of a severe side-on collision.

 

If U5 were involved in a collision, the Collision-activated circuit breaker ensures that all doors are automatically unlocked, and the hazard lights will start to flash. Furthermore, power will be immediately shut off in all other electrical circuits, thus preventing short circuits, fires and other serious incidents within the vehicle.

 

The body cage of the Aiways U5 is the world’s first body construction that has been built in line with the principle of ‘steel above, aluminum below’. The corresponding materials are used where they are needed. The U5 passenger compartment consists of a mixture of 52% aluminum and 47.6% high-strength steel and has been developed by teams of engineers in Germany and China. The steel used is approximately four times stronger than conventional high-strength steel. Thanks to pioneering adhesive, welding and forming techniques, the body is approx. 50% more robust than a comparable steel construction.

 

Driving pleasure

While engineered to be a mid-size SUV for urban and suburban driving, the Aiways U5 is also entertaining and rewarding to drive on faster, more demanding roads. Thanks to its rigid, lightweight construction and low center of gravity, the U5 offers optimal driver engagement.

 

The Aiways U5 is equipped with MacPherson independent suspension at the front and independent multi-link suspension at the rear. This setup simultaneously provides superb cornering ability and a smooth and compliant ride. The U5’s electric power-assisted steering system strikes the perfect balance between practical operation and engaging driver feel.

 

Front and rear 314 mm disc brakes with twin-piston calipers give the driver the utmost confidence in the U5’s stopping power. Aiways iBoost regenerative braking system recuperates energy that would otherwise be lost through braking to recharge the battery.

 

AI and connectivity 

The Aiways U5 features connectivity and artificial intelligence not yet seen in a vehicle of its price point. To create a harmonious connection between man and machine, the U5 uses face recognition to understand who is driving the car and monitor driver awareness, issuing alerts if the driver appears to be getting drowsy and suggesting they stop for a break.

Design

To realize its mission of “intelligent and simplified technology” Aiways has combined functionality and novel aesthetics to create a unique design for its brand-establishing first vehicle. The Aiways U5 has been designed to offer drivers an unparalleled electric automotive experience, with a bold presence and a dedication to functional, well-rounded performance and features.

 

Exterior

The 2021 U5 follows the confident design language of its predecessor, with the harmonious and dynamic body shape now adapted to appear more delicate. It evokes a connection between modern craftsmanship and technology of the future, which will shape the brand in the coming decade, requiring a timeless aesthetic that will inform future vehicles.

 

The smooth, closed front of the vehicle boasts a sharp, contoured design. Meticulous aerodynamic engineering has resulted in a class-leading drag coefficient of 0.29 and an aggressive but sleek appearance. Two air intakes flank the nose, providing crucial airflow to cool the battery packs and the front braking system.

 

The bold SUV body shape is highlighted by a set of 17-inch alloy or 19-inch two-tone machined alloy wheels. The long wheelbase, short overhangs, and wide track give the U5 modern and attractive dimensions. It combines an SUV’s commanding seating position with the space and comfort of a family car.

 

L-shaped LED headlights conform to the shoulder line and meet at the center, while H-shaped rear lights emphasize the width of the vehicle. The elegant retractable door handles also help to reduce wind resistance, further improving efficiency.

 

Measuring 4,680mm in length, 1,865mm in width and 1,700mm in height, the Aiways U5 is a compact SUV with a generously sized interior. It achieves the perfect balance between objective customer needs and unique design features. With a long wheelbase of 2,800mm, the chassis can accommodate numerous battery packs. The unique MAS (More Adaptable Structure) platform allows the fitment of different powertrains, with varying capacities, as well as all-wheel drive.

 

Interior

The U5’s compact, mid-size exterior disguises a spacious interior. Characterized by organic shapes, pleasant materials, and warm colors, it provides both functionality and ultimate driving comfort.

 

Innovative technology is truly at the heart of the Aiways U5’s interior. A large dashboard dominates the cockpit with a clean horizontal design and state-of-the-art digital display. A 12.3-inch tablet-like screen is accessible from the driver and passenger side, enabling both to adjust the vehicle and access the infotainment system. An 8-speaker audio system provides a rich audio experience, and the 2021 model of U5 comes equipped with DAB+ function and a brand new radio IVI interface.

 

Head and legroom for the front and rear passengers is impressive for a vehicle of this segment, while integrated and adjustable sports seats offer optimum body support.  The large panoramic sunroof available on ‘premium’ models adds to the vibrant interior, creating a light and airy atmosphere. The boot has a capacity of 1555 liters with rear seats down, providing ample room for active and adventurous owners.

Guinness World Record testing expedition

 

To test Aiways revolutionary new U5 SUV, the company sent two prototype vehicles on a 15,022 km (9,930 miles) point-to-point journey. Starting in Xi’an, China, the team of engineers drove the SUVs through adverse and extreme conditions over 52 days and 12 countries, arriving in Frankfurt, Germany, in time for IAA 2019.

 

In the process, the Aiways U5 Engineering Drive Team set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘longest journey by an electric vehicle (prototype)’ between July and September 2019. The route took them through the harsh Gobi Desert of northern China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and finished in Germany.

 

The unprecedented expedition provided Aiways with a chance to validate and fine-tune key aspects of the U5. It was a demanding evaluation of the car’s ability to deliver the real-world performance, reliability, and range expected by today’s consumers. With a total travel distance of more than 15,000 kilometers, it was the U5’s final hurdle before production began.

 

Alex Klose, EVP of Overseas Markets at Aiways, explained: “Although it was tough and incredibly demanding of the vehicle and team, the drive to Frankfurt represented just a fraction of the 3.5 million kilometers that the U5 has completed in our testing program. Across laboratory, track, and public roads, each stage has pushed the car further and allowed us to correct issues and refine the U5 prior to production. The Guinness World Record-setting drive provided some valuable insight into battery thermal performance, as well as the electrical system and vehicle software. We are excited to offer the European market a proven and accomplished vehicle, ready for many more adventures.”

MY2021 U5 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION


Notes to editors

*In Germany. Prices in other European markets may vary.

 

About Aiways

Founded in 2017, Aiways is a Shanghai-based personal mobility provider with its European HQ in Munich, Germany. It was the first Chinese startup to introduce an electric vehicle to the European market with the launch of the U5 in 2020 – a battery-electric SUV with impressive range, style and quality. Aiways continues its expansion in Europe and beyond: order books are open in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, and Israel – with more markets to follow. The U5 is produced at Aiways smart production facility in Shangrao – one of the most modern car production facilities in China and built to meet Industry 4.0 standards. With an initial production capacity of 150,000 units per annum, Aiways can increase this number to 300,000 units when global EV demand rises. Aiways’ next model for Europe will be the U6 electric coupé. With a focus on class-leading aerodynamics, intelligent technology and sporty design, the U6 investigates the exciting future of the Aiways brand.

 

Aiways media contacts

 

Bernd Abel, Aiways Automobile Europe GmbH  
+49-89-6931352-69 

bernd.abel@ai-ways.com  

 

Emma Hai, Aiways
+86 186 0104 2089
yang.hai@ai-ways.com / emma.hai@ai-ways.com

 

James Parsons, PFPR Communications
+44 (0)7725 257792
James.parsons@pfpr.com