This Is How Chevrolet Plans To Beat Tesla In China

Electric Car / Comments

Price is in the Menlo Crossover's favor - it starts at just $22,780.

Chevrolet is taking the fight to Tesla and other Chinese EVs with the launch of its first fully electric vehicle in China, the Menlo crossover. Last year, Tesla's sales ballooned to over 40,000 in China, more than double its sales in 2018 and despite an overall sales decline in that market. Chevrolet now wants a piece of that pie and the 148-horsepower Menlo seems well-positioned to achieve that.

In the crossover's favor is a high-value starting price of just 159,990 yuan. That's equivalent to $22,780 and makes the Menlo the most affordable compact crossover EV you can buy in China, and far cheaper than the Tesla Model Y which starts at over $60,000. With a 52.5-kWh battery, a single charge should see the Menlo attain a range of over 250 miles.

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The battery can be charged to 80 percent of its capacity in 40 minutes when using a direct current (DC) charger. Three driving modes are offered: Eco, Normal, and Sporty. Along with three energy recovery modes, owners can decide whether to prioritize performance or energy consumption. "Along with being a new energy vehicle, the Chevrolet Menlo inherits Chevrolet's sporty DNA that dates back to its founding by race car drivers," said the general director of Chevrolet for SAIC-GM, Scott Lawson.

"It will meet the performance and styling demands of our customers and at the same time provide the efficiency that new energy vehicle owners expect." Four trims will be offered: Starshare, Galaxy, Nebula, and the top-line Starlux.

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The Menlo's distinctively sharp lines are said to be inspired by the Chevrolet FNR-X concept. The slim LED headlights and a 'floating roof' design (with blacked-out A-pillars) are especially noticeable. Inside, Chevrolet has fitted a 10.1-inch LCD touchscreen and an eight-inch TFT LCD digital instrument cluster that endow the cabin with a modern feel.

It's practical, too, and has 28 storage spaces and a cargo area that measures over 38 cubic feet. The range-topping Starlux comes in at $25,650 and, more than anything else, it's the high-value proposition of the Menlo that should see Chevrolet mount a challenge to both Tesla and China's own EVs. Will we ever see the Menlo stateside? It's unlikely - and unfortunate - since we think it's more appealing than the Bolt EV.

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