Once a symbol of sporty mobility, the two-door coupé, usually emotionally charged with a long flowing rear end, based on standard sedans is now rarely an expression of upscale travel. The coupé, which is sportier and lighter in appearance than the sedan, is getting on in years and has been almost completely pushed out of our streetscape. Not least because of more versatile, more stately SUVs. But their sheer size lacks the lightness of being.
However, the innovative battery-electric SUV-Coupés now permit completely new technical solutions that also lead to new vehicle proportions, as demonstrated by the young company Aiways from Shanghai. In just four years, the new brand has raised public awareness and is taking advantage of the fact that it does not have to rely on historical brand legacy. Instead, Aiways develops and produces locally emission-free cars driven solely by its founding spirit. And in addition to technical solutions, this also allows for aesthetic solutions that act as a fresh cell cure in everyday automotive life.
The powerful energy storage system in the underbody of the new Aiways U6, patented in its unique sandwich design, together with its exceptionally compact drive unit in the front of the vehicle, allows the long wheelbase with short overhangs. Although this measures 10 millimeters shorter than in the Aiways U5, while its body is 52 millimeters longer, it has a sportier appearance. In addition to functional advantages for the spacious interior, the large side surfaces of the SUV-Coupé body open up new design possibilities.
For example, the Aiways design team uses the flanks between the crisp body overhangs front and rear for a subtle play of muscles. Two signature lines running horizontally divide the profile of the Aiways U6 into three sections. By not running the upper sharp line from the front to the rear, the solitary beads above the wheel arches are highlighted like taut muscles. The play of lines, known in the designers’ parlance as the “hyperspace jumping waistline”, creates the sporty appearance when viewed from the side. This character is supported not only by the flat rising windshield and the filigree A-pillars but also by the black roof with its soft curvature, which gives the U6 a flatter appearance. It is largely made of tinted glass – the most durable glass roof in the automotive industry. The lower, heavily sculpted signature line supports this impression. Finally, the side sills, which are also dark, emphasize the sporty lightness. They slim down the side section of the U6 between the large front and rear wheels.
The front of the Aiways U6 characterizes the vehicle’s face. It comprises two horizontally structured themes. The upper section is flanked by the waterfall-inspired headlight design with air intakes below. The lower one consists of huge cooling air intakes with a flap system and is bordered by a front splitter. This increases downforce for stable straight-line driving.
The horizontal shape of the front design emphasizes the wide body and makes for a prestigious appearance, but also fulfills functional requirements to a particularly high degree: it reduces air resistance for efficient use of drive energy. This is supported by the windshield, which rises more flatly than on the Aiways U5.
The shark theme is taken up by the two C-pillars. Their powerful graphics are reminiscent of the fin of the predatory fish and stand out all the more forcefully thanks to the vehicle’s two-tone design. While this two-tone design emphasizes the lightness of the body, the sharply contoured C-pillars are highlighted and achieve a high level of recognition. With a drag coefficient of 0.248, the aerodynamically sophisticated Aiways U6 has a significantly lower drag coefficient than the Aiways U5 at 0.29. Discreet air deflector blades on the outer vehicle boundaries also play their part. They separate the airflow from the body and, in addition to the rear diffuser and spoiler, prevent turbulence that could slow the car down.
The design philosophy of the new Aiways U6 visualizes the identity of a technologically innovative, sporty SUV-Coupé. Its dynamic design aspirations are reflected in the long flowing rear end with discreet spoiler and the graphics of the taillights. These run as a slim LED strip across the entire width of the vehicle and delimit the rear with a design that follows the front headlights. The concave body recesses and splitter with aerodynamic side blades also reflect design as well as functional themes of the front end. The body-integrated rear spoiler not only serves as a sporty attribute, but also generates downforce over the rear axle at higher speeds. This functional feature ensures driving stability.
Taken as a whole, the numerous elements of the Aiways U6 make the body appear as a taut arc that appeals to the younger generation’s preference for technologically advanced sports equipment. The streamlined light graphic, for its part, supports the dynamic aspect. And the rim design of the imposing 20-inch wheels also follows this objective. The semi-open structure of the lightweight aluminum wheels, CNC-machined from a single block and centered in the middle, has been optimized for streamlining and specifically conducts waste heat from the brakes to the outside.
The interior design of the Aiways U6 opens up a whole new chapter in automotive design. Taking as their starting point the uniquely generous sense of space afforded by the long wheelbase of the otherwise compact vehicle, Aiways designers create a living environment reduced to style-defining accents. In the new Aiways U6, the unit that functions as a dashboard support in the “old automotive world” fulfills a more style-defining function as a furnishing object. The 14.6-inch central display catches the eye as if floating in front of it. The narrow display strip behind the steering wheel serves as cockpit instrumentation. It is perfectly integrated into the horizontally oriented support structure, which in turn emphasizes the width of the vehicle. The driver and co-driver are separated by a center console with a wide armrest and closed storage compartments.
The bundling of numerous operating functions in the very flat central display, together with graphically refined aluminum applications, creates a clear, industrial design-inspired, functional sporty atmosphere. The reduction to just a few functional units goes hand in hand with the sharp, clear contours of all design elements. They, and here again the flat central display that seems to float freely in space, the two-spoke multifunction steering wheel and the high-tech-inspired applications, correspond with the lightness of the reduced overall concept.
With the departure from analog cockpit instruments, a concentration on essential information is taking hold, which not only means an increase in comfort for the pilot, but also leads to greater driving safety. The digital graphics thematize the futuristic quality of future-oriented battery-electric mobility. Visible to all passengers, the filigree ambient lighting also underscores this claim. Circumferential LED strips can create 360 different lighting moods. They emphasize the multi-dimensionality of the interior and create a neo-technical atmosphere.
Partially concealed air outlets at the front guarantee draught-free air conditioning for all passengers. The elaborate design, previously only known from luxury vehicles, also serves to keep secondary functional elements in the background in favor of the clear design language. The dual-zone climate is set either in the corresponding menu of the central display or, for distraction-free access while driving, via a capacitive slider in the center console in front of the drive gear selector lever.
The gearshift control in the center console also represents a novelty in the automotive industry. Inspired by the gear lever of a luxury yacht, it reflects the welcome willingness of the younger generation of customers to happily break away from traditional solutions. Here, from the familiar shift knob. But unlike in yachts, there is no mechanical connection between the lever and the drive unit. The speed steps are selected “by wire,” by turning the transverse roller.
Unlike in the Aiways U5 SUV, customers in the sportier Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé can expect higher-quality, lightweight integral seats with reinforced seat and back bolsters at the front. Inspired by the equipment detail of Chinese luxury vehicles, headrests with soft cushioning are installed on the sides, slightly wrapped around by an additional cushion. For their wing design, Aiways designers drew inspiration from the space shuttle. A large number of storage compartments within reach of all passengers round off the travel comfort in the new Aiways U6.
In keeping with its high aspirations as an innovative battery-electric vehicle with a long range, the new Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé is not limited to its stylish sporty appearance, but also impresses with its technologically sophisticated overall concept. As a lightweight SUV coupé weighing 1,790 kilograms, it occupies an exceptional position in its vehicle class on the market for battery-electric passenger cars.
With the AI Cabin concept, the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé takes the next step towards modern ergonomics by optimizing the integration of displays and revising the operating concept. The three-part LCD cluster of instruments in the Aiways U5 SUV gives way to a visually perfectly integrated 8.2-inch display that clearly presents all the information important to the driver, such as speed, selected gear, range, HV battery charge level, as well as information from the driver assistance systems and warnings.
At the heart of the new display concept, however, is the 14.6-inch touchscreen, which is mounted within easy reach near the steering wheel and ensures an optimum overview thanks to its landscape orientation. However, the infotainment of the new Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé has not only been thought out in terms of ergonomics, but also in terms of optimum operability. The LCD display has the highest resolution for razor-sharp display of the menus and a latest-generation hardware architecture for smooth display and latency-free use.
Innovative menu navigation: AI-Tech ensures optimum operability
The increased available computing power lays the foundation for a completely newly developed operating software. The system presented by Aiways under the name AI-Tech runs as Android-based software and thus not only ensures simple menu navigation, but also offers a high level of functionality. Fixed status bars at the top and bottom of the 14.6-inch touchscreen give the driver an overview of the vehicle’s most important functions at all times. The top line shows, for example, the status of readiness to drive, the selected driving level, range and battery charge status, as well as the selected driver profile and the status of the GPS and mobile phone connection. The lower status bar provides an overview and direct access to the climate control settings and other customizable widgets.
Quick settings can be made via a drop-down menu and the home screen can be adapted to the user’s preferences via freely configurable widgets. The driving display in the left part of the screen is always in view. In addition to the speed being driven, the environment detected by the sensors of the AI-Drive driver assistance systems is also displayed there. Objects such as other vehicles or applicable traffic signs are visualized, as is the currently active driving mode.
Optimal smartphone integration: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto offer real-time navigation
Smartphone integration has also been further improved. For the first time, the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé integrates passengers’ smartphones not only via Apple CarPlay, but also via Android Auto. Aiways continues to adhere to the concept of real-time navigation via cell phone to always plan routes with the latest traffic and map data. By intelligently coupling vehicle data, Aiways in combination with the PUMP app also enables optimized route guidance with charging stop planning based on real-time consumption values and the current charge level of the high-voltage battery, as well as the current occupancy of DC fast-charging stations along the planned route. As is also known from the apps on the smartphone, the software functions of the new operating and display system of the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé are update-capable over-the-air.
Efficiency is the key to success. Achieving the best possible energy utilization is therefore the highest goal for the research and development team at Aiways in Jiading. The drive unit has already impressed in the Aiways U5 SUV. The particularly high-speed unit – at 16,000 rpm, its value is around 25 percent higher than comparable machines – can be smaller and lighter thanks to its large usable speed range, because it uses less magnetically active material. A good 15 percent of the weight of the optimized permanent magnet synchronous electric machine has been saved, most of which is accounted for by rare earth ores.
The new AI-PT: Competitive advantage through best possible integration
On this basis, the next step could now be taken with the new AI-PT in the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé. The new engine, which was not only developed by Aiways but is also manufactured in its own factory, has been improved in many areas.
Intelligent optimization: better dynamics and maximum comfort in the Aiways U6 SUV coupé
The increased maximum output and improved maximum torque are directly noticeable. With an acceleration time of just 6.9 seconds to 100 km/h, it helps the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé achieve the best value in its market segment. In addition to dynamics, the comfort of the new AI-PT has also been improved. A modified reduction gearbox with high coincidence has significantly reduced the running noise of the gear drive. Special filter strategies were also developed to control harmonics in the motor’s circuit, which ensure a significant reduction in the noise perceived by humans and thus significantly increase ride comfort.
New heat exchanger: Innovative use of waste heat from the drive unit to condition the battery and the passenger compartment
Another building block towards greater efficiency is the new package of measures for the best possible temperature management. For the AI-PT, this is done by a new heat exchanger that not only cools the engine, but also makes optimum use of its waste heat. This means that the thermal energy released by the engine is not discharged unused into the environment but is used to heat the interior or to condition the battery pack. This not only makes the usable range less dependent on the outside temperature, but also increases the service life of the battery.
More Adaptable Structure: Many degrees of freedom in drive integration
The new Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé will be launched with the 63 kWh battery familiar from the Aiways U5 SUV, which has 24 CATL modules and can be charged with up to 90 kilowatts at a DC fast charging station, or up to 11 kilowatts at a three-phase AC wallbox. However, the high flexibility of the MAS platform also allows further variants here. This applies not only to the body configurations, but also to the drive configurations in terms of the positioning of the motors and the number of driven axles.
“Made in China” as a recipe for success. Aiways has boldly entered new markets, offering engineering excellence from China, appealing design and advanced technology at an affordable price. Aiways’ own facilities in China include a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Shangrao with a current capacity of 150,000 vehicles, R&D and design centers in Shanghai, and a battery assembly production line in Changshu. The company’s Overseas Headquarters is located in Munich, Germany.
The company’s European business model enables rapid expansion into new markets without the need for investment in fixed showrooms. Aiways distributors manage local sales, while a network of local specialists provides aftersales service. Thanks to cooperation with renowned partners such as Euronics, Koelliker Group, Andersen Motors, Astara (formerly Bergé Group), Car East France and others, Aiways has already achieved a strong position in Europe.
The year 2022 started for Aiways with new funding and a strengthening of the management team, giving new impetus to the management and accelerating the company’s growth plans. The new round of funding is expected to accelerate the development of Aiways’ business globally – with a particular focus on entering new markets, new products and sustainable mobility, as well as improving the user experience and developing the brand’s digital capabilities.
Aiways intends to launch a new model every year. Following the premiere of the U6 SUV-Coupé, which will be seen on European roads alongside the U5 SUV at the end of 2022, work is already underway with vigor on further models.
“Inspired by the streamlined shark nose, the upper section reflects a character-defining design theme. The X-shaped division by “fast lines” expresses fighting spirit. This area represents nature-given evolution that ensures the survival of the strong, and equally represents the unknown and the will to confront the unknown,” explains Aiways Styling Director Zhao Chengyan. “Cultivating a fighting spirit is a privilege of the younger generation, he continues, bridging to the youthful freshness of the vehicle as well as its future-oriented technology.”
“We are very proud of the interior with its new design language and innovative operating system. Not only because we have adopted the arrangement almost unchanged from the U6ion study, but also because the range of functions and the ease of operation of the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé set standards in its class. With the generous display area, powerful hardware and an over-the-air update-capable architecture, we are ideally positioned for the future,” explains Dr. Alexander Klose, Executive Vice President Overseas Operations at Aiways about the advantages of the new operating system.
“The AI-PT, or Aiways Powertrain, is something very special. It makes us one of the very few automakers that has not only designed its own engine, but also builds it. In this way, we not only achieve the best possible integration into the vehicle, but our innovative strength also gives us a real competitive advantage. Because you won’t find our engine in various other vehicles,” says Dr. Alexander Klose, Executive Vice President Overseas Operations at Aiways, explaining the advantages of in-house development.
“Aiways has grown tremendously in a short period of time and we are very pleased with the foundation we have laid in Europe. By the end of 2022, we are aiming for at least five-digit sales thanks to the growing popularity of the U5 SUV, as well as through the new U6 SUV-Coupé model,” said Dr. Alexander Klose, Vice President of Overseas Operations. “The Aiways story is just beginning. We are proud that our products are manufactured in China to international standards, and I believe this has become a hallmark of engineering excellence. Our U5 SUV has made a strong impression in the highly competitive European market. High-tech features, modern design, advanced electric car technology and an affordable price make it an attractive option for first-time electric car buyers, we will now build on this foundation with the U6 SUV-Coupé.”
Press Releases & Media Assets
Aiways press material and an extensive selection of high-resolution photos and videos can be downloaded from the press portal media.ai-ways.eu.
Aiways contact for media inquiries
Bernd Abel, Aiways Automobile Europe GmbH
+49 (0) 89 693135269
Georgia Chapman, Aiways Automobile Europe GmbH
+49 (0) 89 693135278
Founded in 2017, Aiways is a Shanghai-based personal mobility provider with its European HQ in Munich, Germany. It was the first Chinese start-up 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 is rapidly continuing its expansion in Europe and beyond: order books are open in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Israel, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Croatia, Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Slovenia – with more markets to follow. The U5 SUV is produced at Aiways’ smart production facility in Shangrao – one of the most modern car production facilities in China. The IT-controlled processes with challenging quality gates follow the standards of Industry 4.0. 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 battery-electric U6 SUV-Coupé. With a focus on sophisticated aerodynamics, highly connected driving, safety technology, and a sporty design, the U6 SUV-Coupé is just the next chapter of Aiways’ promising future.