Chery Australia thinks it can succeed with plug-in hybrids where others failed

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China’s Chery has hit back at plug-in hybrid (PHEV) deniers, arguing other manufacturers haven’t given the drivetrain tech a proper shot at making it in Australia.

Speaking with CarExpert, newly appointed managing director for Chery Australia, Lucas Harris, said that if the brand were to bring its Tiggo 7 Pro e+ and Tiggo 8 Pro e+ plug-in hybrids to market (and it’s seeming likely), it would be looking to address key barriers like price and supply.

“I think it’s hard to say the uptake hasn’t been good so far, because the offerings have been quite expensive and limited in supply. I think our strategy in regards to those two things would be quite different,” Mr Harris said.

“We’d have a very compelling value offering and wouldn’t be supply constrained. I think that in itself might be enough to help us, but obviously we’d be very clearly communicating to people what is the purpose that vehicle would suit, and how can it fit with their lifestyles.”

Chery Australia has pretty much confirmed its plans to launch plug-in hybrid versions of its Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro SUVs, though stopped short of indicating when we might see them land Down Under.

The Chinese brand will launch its first electric vehicle in 2024 in the Omoda 5 EV, and has hinted at several other launches in the new year – likely the PHEV versions of the recently-launched Tiggo 7 Pro as well as the larger Tiggo 8 Pro.

The Tiggo 7 Pro e+ and Tiggo 8 Pro e+ both use a three-gear Direct Hybrid Transmission (DHT), with three physical gears and three engine operating points with an adjustable speed ratio. Dual electric motors, a motor controller and transmission are integrated with each other, and mated with a “hybrid-specific” 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The seven-seat Tiggo 8 Pro e+ uses a 19.27kWh ternary lithium battery and total system outputs of 240kW of power and 545Nm of torque. It has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.5 seconds and 75km of electric range on the WLTC cycle, with a kerb weight of 1769kg – up just 57kg on a Tiggo 8 Pro with the turbocharged 2.0-litre four.

The Tiggo 7 Pro e+ shares its 240kW/545Nm plug-in hybrid drivetrain with the Tiggo 8 Pro e+, and offers a claimed electric range of 80km under the WLTC cycle.

Chery’s second assault on the Australian market is focusing on key SUV segments.

The Omoda 5 competes in the small SUV segment against the likes of the MG ZS and Mazda CX-30; the Tiggo 7 Pro is positioned against everything from the Mazda CX-5 to the Nissan Qashqai; while the upcoming Tiggo 8 Pro seven-seater will duke it out with the Mitsubishi Outlander.

As of November 30, 2023, Chery Australia has registered 5160 new vehicles in Australia, spearheaded by the Omoda 5 (4827 units) as the Tiggo 7 Pro only started hitting showrooms in November.

The Omoda 5 has already managed to hold 3.5 per cent of the small SUV market, despite only launching earlier this year.

Would you consider a Chery PHEV? Let us know in the comments!

MORE: Everything Chery Tiggo 7 Pro | Chery Tiggo 8 Pro

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