you will be forgiven Because I am completely unfamiliar with Euler, an automaker owned by China’s Great Wall Motors. The company has caught the attention of Fiat for building a car the Italian company believes closely resembles its Panda (an Italian court agreed), and more recently for a partnership with BMW to produce the Mini Electric in China). The Ora is the latest electric offering from Giant.
The Funky Cat – yes, that’s what it’s called – is Ora’s first foray into Europe. Due to its cute design, friendly price, and high-tech specifications, this car has become a cult favorite on the Internet. After a long wait, it’s finally available in the UK, so we’re taking our time.
The Funky Cat has a price advantage over key competitors like the Cupra Born and Renault Megané eTech. It costs £31,995 ($37,962), and with few other options, it’s significantly cheaper than more established rivals. And you won’t find the battery uncomfortably housed in a chassis originally built for the gas engine; the platform was purpose-built for the electric powertrain.
Looking at the specs, you might wonder what the problem is. A 48 kWh battery pack sends 171 PS to the front wheels, which allows for a 0-62 mph time of 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 99 mph. Ola says it can travel 193 miles on a single charge. On a 100kW DC charger, the battery will be fully charged in 45 minutes, while a 7kW home charger will understandably take longer.
However, that’s pretty average for a small (more or less) EV. What’s impressive is the tech inside: a voice assistant, a camera that can tell if you’re tired (or leave kids or pets in the car), a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, a 360-degree camera, and sensors that can see around the car , Internet radio, OTA updates that add features on the go, wireless phone charging, adjustable driving modes, adjustable steering weight…it seems to have it all.
But a closer look at the car itself reveals some flaws. If the paint catches it in the right light, it looks like orange peel (although it’s smooth to the touch, it has a weird blotchy effect). There are rough plastics on the inside, and no matter how fervently Ora wants you to think its quilted interior fabric makes it premium, they simply aren’t. First Edition cars were fitted with a clumsy badge to denote their status, but it subtracted more than it added. Design-wise, it’s a cute little thing, but it wouldn’t be out of place in a GTA game either.
On the move, its tech is just as nearly there. There won’t be Apple CarPlay or Android Auto until the first half of 2023, so you’ll need to rely on the Ora’s own navigation efforts. It’s a decent effort, but the audio instructions are often confusing, and at one point it warns of “congestion” ahead.
The infotainment screen has all the right toys, but the user interface isn’t intuitive. Lending the car to a friend results in the phone asking how to switch between the nav and radio screens. On the radio side, the car is equipped with 4G connectivity, enabling internet radio and OTA services. So far, Ora is promising 12 months of service, with more to come via paid subscriptions in the future. Internet radio is a great idea, but it stops working if the signal is spotty. It’s slow to buffer, so Funky Cat’s DAB tuner is better suited for the job.