The crazy Chinese EV we’d actually buy

Futuristic styling, a sub-4 second 0-100km/h time, over 700km of electric range, and over 4000 exterior LEDs. This is the HiPhi Z.

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It looks more like a speeder out of Star Wars, but this is the latest vehicle from Chinese electric vehicle startup Human Horizons.

The HiPhi Z, being marketed as a “digital GT”, is an unusual combination of sedan, crossover and sci-fi design cues, and is bedecked with seemingly more LEDs than Times Square.

Human Horizons says it has the world’s first wraparound Star-Ring ISD light curtain, with 4066 individual LEDs across panels at the front, rear and sides.

These can display messages for owners and passers-by.

There’s a sleek fastback silhouette, though down back the boot lid opens more like that of a sedan.

There are rear-hinged doors at the back, plus 22-inch wheels, an active spoiler and matrix LED headlights.

The interior is just as futuristic, awash with ambient lighting – including on the steering wheel – and featuring a large central touchscreen that can be rotated.

The screen will rotate itself towards the vehicle occupant giving a command and features an unusual interactive cube, which you can rotate on screen and use to access the various apps.

An AI companion called the HiPhi Bot can “automatically adjust every aspect of the driving and passenger experience”.

There’s no instrument cluster, though there’s a head-up display.

The dashboard is swathed in suede, while the seats are upholstered in Nappa leather with a pearlescent finish. There are individual buckets in the rear, flanking a large console.

Other surprise-and-delight features include 14-way power front seats with massaging, a crystal gear selector, and a 23-speaker Meridian sound system, while fragrance is pumped into the cabin.

There’s a suite of 32 sensors powering the HiPhi Z’s driver assist and active safety features, including a LiDAR, 13 cameras, five individual millimetre wave radars and 12 ultrasonic radars.

The HiPhi Z features a 120kWh battery and a claimed range of 705km on the more generous NEDC cycle.

The company says it features Cell to Pack technology, aimed at increasing energy density.

While Human Horizons hasn’t released power and torque outputs, it claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.8 seconds.

Car News China says it’ll produce 447kW of power and 820Nm of torque in dual-motor all-wheel drive guise, with a single-motor rear-wheel drive model producing 224kW and 410Nm.

Underneath the HiPhi Z’s futuristic sheetmetal sits a platform with aluminium double wishbone front suspension, five-link rear suspension, and rear-wheel steering.

There’s air suspension with Continuous Damping Control.

The HiPhi Z will be revealed in the metal at the Shenzen motor show this week, though launch dates won’t be revealed until the Chengdu motor show in August.

It’ll be priced from the equivalent of $130,278 to $188,951.

“The vehicle itself looks, feels, and drives like a car from 20 years in the future, providing an insight into the future of human-like technology and transportation,” the company says, noting the smooth transition from last year’s concept to this year’s production car.

“Through rigorous testing and development, the HiPhi Z has retained more than 95% of its production intents revealed previously,” said HiPhi founder, CEO and chairman, Ding Lei.

It’s the second reveal from the HiPhi brand following the X, marketed as an electric “super SUV” and featuring Tesla Model X-aping butterfly doors but more of a lower-slung shape.

Human Horizons was founded in 2017 by automotive industry veteran and former politician Ding Lei.

The company bills itself as a new mobility and intelligent research company that claims to redefine human mobility by building smart transportation technologies and contributing to the development of smart cities.

Headquartered in Shanghai, the company launched its ‘HiPhi’ (pronounced Hi-Fi) brand of ‘premium smart all-electric’ vehicles in 2019.

The HiPhi brand is expanding rapidly, and the company claims to have sold 4237 vehicles in 2021.

MORE: Brand overview: China’s Human Horizons, aka HiPhi

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William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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