Shanghai, 16 April, 2019 – AIWAYS, the Shanghai-based personal mobility provider, has unveiled a new all-electric car concept, the U7ion, at Auto Shanghai 2019 today. The concept car is the latest step in AIWAYS’ ambition to provide a full range of fully-electric, highly intelligent vehicles for the global market, and follows the introduction of its production-ready U5 mid-size SUV into Europe at the Geneva International Motor Show last month.
The U7ion concept premiers the company’s FRM concept, which stands for family, roomy mobility, aiming to bring people closer together. It demonstrates how AIWAYS’ design language will be developed under the direction of Chief Advisor of Design and Art, Ken Okuyama, with an increased focus on simplicity of design. It also premiers AIWAYS’ ‘fourth space’ interior concept, in which the car provides a sanctuary from busy modern life, while ensuring users remain seamlessly connected. The ‘fourth space’ is so called because family, work and leisure represent the first three spaces. The U7ion concept offers an unprecedented level of in-car artificial intelligence (AI) and uses design and technology to offer high levels of personalisation, comfort and efficiency.
The U7ion concept features an integrated self-learning robot, which can move around the interior of the vehicle to ensure occupants’ comfort at all times. The U7ion concept uses a total of 12 screens throughout its interior, including a smart dashboard touchscreen integrated into the steering wheel, and a touchscreen built into a smart mobile console, which can travel around the cabin.
Joining the U7ion concept on AIWAYS’ Auto Shanghai stand is the U5 SUV and Gumpert Nathalie.
The production-ready U5 is a statement of intent for AIWAYS as it aims to bring affordable, connected and local zero-emissions family transport to the European market. Built on AIWAYS’ innovative aluminium-steel More Adaptable Structure (MAS) platform, the U5 leads AIWAYS’ product offensive, which is expected to grow with one new model per year including a range of electric SUVs in both the compact and large segments.
The U5 brings together all of AIWAYS’ collective industry expertise into one innovative package, which is aimed at meeting the needs of discerning European buyers. The mid-size SUV offers style, premium build quality, connectivity, safety and 503 km battery range (NEDC).
In order to achieve these requirements, AIWAYS has invested heavily in the entire value chain of the U5. This begins with the newly established €1.7bn (£1.5bn) Shangrao production plant in Jiangxi Province, where the U5 will be manufactured, consists of a stamping plant, body and paint shop and final assembly line, integrating innovative technology throughout. Engineered to Industry 4.0 standards, it is currently able to produce 150,000 cars a year, with a second phase of expansion already planned to bring capacity to 300,000 units.
AIWAYS President, Samuel Fu (Fu Qiang), said: “Our presence at Auto Shanghai, from our new U7 ion concept and our production-ready U5 SUV to our impressive show stand, shows our drive and ambition to be a truly global mobility provider. While the U5 will go on sale in Europe in just a few months, the U7ion concept previews the next exciting model in our product offensive. Across all our vehicles you will find a common thread – an enjoyable driving experience that caters to your lifestyle.”
AIWAYS was founded in 2017 by President Samuel Fu (Fu Qiang) and CEO Gary Gu (Gu Feng). Both coming from leading positions in top international automotive brands based in China. AIWAYS has expanded rapidly by building a research & development centre, battery plant and production facility. The company’s incredible growth means it now employs more than 1,100 people.
The AIWAYS U7ion concept premiers the company’s FRM design ethos, which stands for family, roomy mobility, and focuses on bringing people together in the car, using innovative design and connectivity. With the design of the concept overseen by AIWAYS’ Chief Advisor of Design and Art, Ken Okuyama, the U7ion continues to develop the brand’s aesthetic and enhance its focus on intelligence, efficiency and comfort.
The AIWAYS U7ion concept states the company’s intention to make artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) core elements of all of its existing and future models. This is demonstrated by a depth of in-car AI unlike anything seen in the automotive industry to date. All of the vehicle’s innovative systems work to make its occupants’ journey as comfortable as possible.
In designing the interior of the U7ion concept, AIWAYS’ design team has embraced the ‘fourth’ space concept. With the first three spaces standing for family, work and leisure, the AIWAYS U7ion’s fourth space concept provides users with a safe-haven from busy modern life, while enabling them to remain connected to the world around them. The ‘fourth space’ concept helps the U7ion concept achieve AIWAYS’ brand promise of ‘Love Your Drive’, by offering a type of mobility that is not just highly connected, but also relaxing and comfortable.
Building on the AIWAYS U5’s already class-leading in-car AI capabilities, the U7ion introduces a number of intelligent systems to improve occupants’ experience. This includes the U7ion’s integrated self-learning robot, which is mounted to a rail in the roof of the car’s cabin and can automatically move around the vehicle’s interior. The robot offers on-board sound recognition and passenger identification, as well as an even more intelligent iteration of the AIWAYS U5’s in-car childcare tool.
In total, the AIWAYS U7ion concept’s interior is equipped with 12 high definition screens. These include a smart dashboard touchscreen, which is integrated into the vehicle’s steering wheel to provide key information to the driver while saving space. A smart mobile console, which includes a touchscreen as well as table, refrigerator, air purifier and hot and cold cup holders, can be directed around the cabin to meet the occupant’s needs.
Upon opening the U7ion concept’s rear hinged rear doors – engineered to make access as effortless as possible – occupants are greeted by a ‘welcome seat’, which is rotated to face them. Once seated, the occupants in the middle row of seats can rotate their position to any configuration that suits them. Ambient lighting located throughout the cabin will automatically change colour and intensity to reflect to the tonality and volume of the occupants’ conversation or the driving style. This complements the U7ion concept’s full panoramic glass roof to create a light and airy environment.
The U7ion concept continues the AIWAYS U5’s design philosophy of minimalist aesthetics, with a bold SUV-style silhouette that offers MPV levels of practicality. Taking styling cues from the U5, such as the ‘mask-style’ front end with signature L-shaped headlights, helps create an AIWAYS family face and deliver exceptional aerodynamic efficiency.
The concept’s silhouette is accented by a taught waistline that creates a sense of dynamism and provides passengers with a feeling of security. Despite large alloy wheels on low profile tyres, the U7ion concept sits low to the ground, not only to give a purposeful stance, but also for added passenger convenience.
AIWAYS’ quest for superior aerodynamics is furthered on the U7ion concept with features such as rear-view cameras rather than mirrors, hidden door handles and a ‘closed’ alloy wheel design.
The AIWAYS U7ion concept also helps its occupants express their personality, with projector headlights that can display images on the road ahead and change their configuration to reflect the driver’s mood.