Chinese electric car manufacturer AIWAYS has announced the appointment of Ken Okuyama as the brand’s new design boss.
Born in Yamagata, Japan, Ken graduated as an industrial designer from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1982. He subsequently went on to serve as chief designer at GM, a senior designer at Porsche, and a design director for none other than Pininfarina, where he oversaw the design of cars such as the Ferrari Enzo as well as the 612 Scaglietti, 599 GTB Fiorano and Maserati Quattroporte.
Shanghai-based AIWAYS, meanwhile, unveiled its “U5” all-electric car (pictured above) at the recent Geneva motor show, with the vehicle having been developed at the company’s R&D centre in Jiading, Shanghai – a site that was only opened in April 2018.
Measuring 4680 mm long, 1865 mm wide and 1684 tall, and with a body made from a 52% aluminium and 48% high-strength steel material mix, the mid-size SUV has a kerb weight of 1,730 kg while its 63 kWh battery powers an electric motor mounted at the front of the car driving the front wheels that is claimed to generate 187 bhp and 232 lb-ft of torque at 16,000 rpm.
AIWAYS’ engineers say the U5 will deliver a range of 286 miles, which can be extended to 348 miles if the customer chooses to lease additional battery packs that fit into the car’s floor. The powertrain structure is further claimed to be 15% smaller than rival systems and can be utilised on a variety of body styles from the A-segment through to large SUVs.
Expected to go on sale in Europe by 2020, the U5 has already entered into production at AIWAYS’ all-new £1.5 billion manufacturing facility that is located in Shangrao in China’s Jiangxi Province.
As well as the U5, the Chinese startup also revealed “CARL”, a charging robot prototype, in Geneva two weeks ago.
When parked in a public car park, the autonomous and mobile charging unit can be summoned by drivers via a smartphone app. Using GPS data, CARL then guides itself to the parking space and can automatically administer a fast charge, without the driver having to wait to plug in.
Compatible with all cars that adhere to globally-recognised charging standards, AIWAYS says CARL could be used in public carparks, allowing car park operators to provide a charging solution without having to allocate dedicated parking spaces or invest in expensive infrastructure upgrades.