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Geely charges up for the future

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Wayfarer

Busy days for the Chinese car maker: Geely and Foxconn officials formalize a deal to produce original equipment such as vehicle parts, intelligent drive systems, and even whole vehicles — to supply to other global car makers. — PHOTO FROM GEELY

Smart electrified mobility is on the horizon

A FEW MONTHS ago, Geely Holding launched its Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) — the world’s first open-source electric vehicle architecture. It is extremely valuable because this architecture can accommodate A- through E-class vehicles, making it versatile and ultimately, very cost-effective. The vehicles compatible with this architecture range from regular sedans to SUVs, MPVs, small city cars, sports cars, trucks, and even some anticipated future vehicles.

You see, the style of modular manufacturing allows for significantly reducing the development time of vehicle technologies because, in essence, they could be shared across different vehicle types. Having said that, Geely Holding has foreseen that SEA will cut the software development cycle for its smart electric vehicles by more than 50%. Hopefully, this will translate to a faster turnover of innovations in the realms of electric power, smart connectivity, autonomous driving, interior space, performance, and safety.

Geely has also rebranded itself as no longer being just a traditional automobile manufacturer, but rather a mobility technology service provider. Having said that, Geely promises that starting this year, it will embark on the rapid development of smart electric vehicles — slated to transform Geely into a powerhouse of mobility technology.

Based on Geely’s new SEA, the company will make use of a super-efficient battery that has been tested to be capable of retaining its range without any observable degradation for at least 200,000 kilometers (km). With a design life that should last 2,000,000km (under specified operating conditions), it is bound to address the concerns of typical range anxiety and other common consumer demands.

When it comes to charging speed, Geely’s SEA flaunts the ability to recharge 120km worth of driving range in less than five minutes. This is made possible via its ultra-high speed 800V charging system, which has been developed to offer impressive, practical solutions.

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And it gets even more exciting. Geely’s SEA architecture aims to launch fully autonomous driving features for the open road come 2025. These will include highly autonomous functions such as hands-free driving, eyes-off driving (yes, really!), autonomous parking, automatic lane changing and intelligent navigation. In fact, Geely’s timeline says that such autonomous driving on select roads will be achieved as early as 2023.

Furthermore, Geely Holding recently announced a partnership with Chinese search engine and AI company Baidu, aiming to develop several intelligent and connected electric vehicles. Baidu has eight years of experience in the field of intelligent transportation, and an extensive portfolio of vehicle technologies, including Apollo autonomous driving, DuerOS for Apollo, and Baidu Maps. You can think of Baidu as China’s Google.

In the Philippines, Geely — whose local distributorship is handled by Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP) — has been received by the public very positively. As a matter of fact, they have recovered quite impressively despite the pandemic, with the Geely Coolray even emerging as a top-seller among the five-seater subcompact crossovers, recorded for three months in 2020.

SGAP President and CEO Mikihisa Takayama shared: “We want to keep our eyes on the bright spots amid the pandemic and other future challenges this year may bring us. I personally think that quality, affordability and customer delight should be instilled in businesses during the crisis. This period of decline in our economy is a good time to prove to our customers the quality and efficiency our brand could offer without having to burden them too much financially. We welcomed the year with high hopes that 2021 will be a lot better for us. Let us all move forward together.”

Geely Philippines in 2020 has also managed to supplement its maiden dealership outlet in North EDSA with another six new dealerships: Quezon Avenue (NCR), Cagayan de Oro, Lipa (Batangas), Zamboanga, General Santos, and Imus, Cavite. And as further demonstration that it is here to serve, Geely also announced that it is looking at opening 21 more dealerships in key markets in the Philippines.

In a conversation we had with SGAP’s General Manager for Sales Froilan Dytianquin, he affirmed that Geely has indeed been proud to be in the global news lately for showing how serious and aggressive the company is in pursuing smart and connected EVs for the future. After announcing its partnership with Baidu, he shared that a week later Geely also announced its joint venture with Apple’s supplier, Foxconn. This is as Foxconn and Geely have decided to partner in producing original equipment such as vehicle parts, intelligent drive systems, and even whole vehicles — to supply to other global car makers. And then most recently, it also announced a collaboration with telecom firm Tencent to develop smart car technology assets, such as an intelligent cockpit and other solutions for autonomous driving.

Said Mr. Dytianquin: “Geely’s announcement on partnerships with Baidu and other technology companies paves the way for the preparation of smart-connected new energy vehicles, which will soon be the next generation of mobility. Though our market is still not ready to realize full EV mobility, Geely’s initiative to partner with leading technology companies will pave the way for making smart, efficient transportation, and at the same time make EV’s acceptance and popularity grow in Asia.”

It certainly looks like there’s a lot of electric-smart-autonomous surprises brewing in there. Kudos to Geely. When the time is ripe, we too shall enjoy these cutting-edge mobility solutions in Southeast Asia.

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