The quad-motor Maxus GST concept from LDV parent company SAIC Motor is reaching production, and will headline a new brand or sub-brand called Interstellar.
According to reports from Chinese outlets such as Car News China, the production GST will launch in 2024 as a global model.
The brand itself will officially launch on July 3, 2023 and in typical confusing Chinese car fashion, will be applied to LDV/Maxus’ existing ute model.
Revealed at this year’s Shanghai motor show, the Maxus GST features body-on-frame construction and a quad-motor all-wheel drive powertrain with 746kW (1000hp) of power and a claimed peak torque output of 14,000Nm, good for a 0-100km/h time of around three seconds.
According to the company’s translated press release, its semi-solid state battery – which features cell-to-chassis construction – affords the concept 1000km of range.
An 11kW V2L function allows you to power small appliances.
It also boasts a tank turn function, as well as air suspension, a claimed 400mm of suspension travel, 12 terrain modes and what Maxus calls an all-terrain automatic escape function.
The latter, according to the press release, uses sensors to scan the terrain and establish a 50m range in front of the vehicle.
It’s unclear whether less powerful variants with less range will join the upcoming GST range.
The GST features a new design language for the brand, which the company refers to as “new electrified armour”.
Chinese automakers of late have been embracing a bluff, boxy design language – BYD’s Yangwang U8 and Fang Cheng Bao SUVs and Chery’s Jetour Traveller are examples – while also rolling out more utes as the format becomes more accepted and permissible to drive throughout the country
Inside, there are more design elements proving popular with Chinese brands at the moment, including a steering yoke and a pillar-to-pillar screen assembly.
The coach doors and lack of a B-pillar are much more concept car-like, however, as is the presence of a front passenger seat that can be swivelled to face the rear occupants. These elements seem the most likely to be lost in the translation to a production vehicle.
The barrier separating the tub and the cabin can also be opened, and the rear seats can rotate 180 degrees and slide all the way to the tailgate – ideal for fishing, Maxus says.
The company already offers an electric ute, the eT60, which last year became the first electric ute in Australia from an established automaker.
The eT60, however, is simply an electric version of an existing, combustion-powered model, and not a clean-sheet vehicle like the GMC Hummer EV or even a heavily overhauled ICE model like the Ford F-150 Lightning.