China’s rapidly expanding Haval brand has launched a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of its H6 mid-sized SUV, however it’s not locked in for an Australian launch – unlike the ‘normal’ hybrid model due in early 2022. 

    The company staged the H6 PHEV’s world premiere this week, at the Thailand International Motor Expo rather than closer to home. The Thai market is a key focus and home to its newest factory, which supplies certain Southeast Asian regions but not Australia. 

    Based on the same modular platform as the H6 petrol (already on sale in Australia) and normal hybrid range, it pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine to an electric motor and drive battery, allowing pure EV driving until depleted. 

    Outputs on paper are absolutely impressive: a whopping 240kW of power and 530Nm of torque – that’s 61kW more power than the 179kW H6 hybrid, though the same amount of torque. That’s also ahead of the Chinese MG HS PHEV, with its 189kW and 370Nm outputs. 

    Even more impressive is the claimed electric driving range – which appears to be longer than any other plug-in hybrid SUV out there, though Haval hasn’t disclosed much battery data.

    Haval says it’ll do 201km using only electricity before dipping into petrol power, though this is according to the unrealistic NEDC cycle. That being said, it suggests a WLTP-measured range well north of 100km. That would require an expensive, large capacity battery. 

    Apples-for-apples, the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV claims a pure-electric range of 87km on the WLTP measure, which is well ahead of the pack as it is, meaning the Haval could be something of a game-changer. 

    So what’s the deal with it not coming to Australia, also known as Great Wall Motor’s biggest export market? Current strong demand for normal hybrids and slow PHEV sales (despite more options arriving) are the two stated, though cost clearly also plays a role.

    “At this stage it’s not under consideration, the Haval H6 Hybrid is our priority,” said a GWM Australia spokesman, though as ever they left the door open to a change of heart should market conditions or demand justify as much. 

    MORE: Chinese brands overtake Subaru and Honda as market evolves

    Even without the PHEV, it’s a monster year ahead for GWM. So far in 2021 it has sold 16,864 cars, up 270 per cent and ahead of the likes of Suzuki and Audi on the charts, thanks to popular new models such as the GWM Ute, and Haval Jolion and H6 small and medium SUVs.

    Next year looks at least as packed with new models. The H6 Hybrid is confirmed, as is the sleeker H6 S with its sportier roofline, while the Haval Jolion Hybrid is 99 per cent over the line. The GWM Ute is expected to pick up an Australian-tuned flagship, too

    Moreover, both its Ora electric car and Tank 4×4 brands are expected to launch next year, or potentially 2023 if plans change. The Tank range comprises the 300, 500 and 700, all large and off-road-capable SUVs with characterful designs. 

    MORE: China’s GWM plans for Big Dog, Tank 300, Ora EVs, has bold 2021 target
    MORE: Chinese Ora Cat 01 electric car going global

    MORE: Australia becomes top export market for GWM Haval
    MORE: GWM files trademarks for bigger X Cannon pickup, Tank SUVs

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers