Forget Fridges, Chinese EVs Embrace Drones and Detachable Wheels

Major electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are experiencing a decline in domestic demand due to reduced consumer spending. Geopolitical tensions with Western economies are also impacting export prospects. So smaller EV players are relying on innovative thinking to survive in this competitive industry as they are likely to face a wave of consolidation because China is planning to control the consequences of previous extensive subsidies.

Moreover, chinese-made vehicles are seen as better equipped to meet the technology needs and connectivity preferences of local customers. Here’s a look at some of the offbeat offerings now available in China:


Sleeping Kits– The Xpeng G9, an SUV priced at 263,900 yuan ($36,700), can be easily transformed into a bed for two people with a single click on its in-car display. Drivers can install a sleeping kit in their car that allows them to transform the front and back seats into a flat surface with a double-size air mattress that automatically inflates.

Tailgate Ready- The L-Series by Li Auto Inc. has become a popular choice for SUV buyers in China due to its spacious interiors, extended-range capabilities, and built-in massagers. This popularity has attracted competitors looking to appeal to the middle-class market.

Drones The world’s biggest electric vehicle producer, BYD Co., is striving to make its high-end Yangwang U8 model more appealing to technology enthusiasts so it has collaborated with DJI which enables a small drone to take off and land from a retractable case on the car’s roof, and it can autonomously return to the car once the journey is complete.

The drone follows the car’s path and takes high-quality images, giving drivers the ability to see their surroundings from above in real-time and create short videos on their car’s display.

In-Car Gaming– In-car gaming is becoming more popular, with Tesla integrating the Steam platform into its system and Li Auto allowing drivers and passengers to connect their Nintendo Switch to the car’s system. BYD has gone even further by creating a detachable steering wheel that can be used with the car’s pedals for playing video games on the in-car screen.

“While legacy automakers still only focus on the drivability of a car, Chinese companies are not satisfied with that they are extending the possibilities to all kinds of living and recreational scenarios, and that’s part of the reason why customers love EVs these days.”

Reference- Morning China Post, Bloomberg, Inside EVs, The Verge