What’s the best EV if you’re feeling brave? | Top Gear
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Monday 28th November
Top Gear Advice

What’s the best EV if you’re feeling brave?

The brand new Ora Funky Cat looks quite interesting, if you can get past the name...

Buying an electric vehicle is of course an inherently brave choice, boldly stepping out into the Wild West of propulsive technology and following the promise of gold in them thar hills. 

Or at least the vague promise of cheaper fuel bills as you shrug off the shackles of big oil. Let’s ignore the fact that big oil is rapidly rebranding itself as the cuddly planet friendly big electricity and is still coming for your money, because we’re feeling brave and that’s exciting. 

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If you’re feeling extra brave you could get yourself an electric car from a punky little start-up brand that hails from an up-and-coming little nation across the way. Like Great Wall Motors, for instance, and its Ora badge that has newly arrived in the UK – through the proper channels, of course. 

If you can get past the name, the Ora Funky Cat is an exciting new addition to the British fleet. You can only imagine the meetings that must have led to a name like that being chosen – it probably means something much better in Chinese, but you rather hope that this is the only thing that’s been lost in translation.

The styling is certainly funky, even if it doesn’t look too much like a cat. Hints of Mini up front give way at the rear to a first-generation Nissan Leaf that somehow landed on top of a Porsche. Inside the car has a distinct whiff of that 1991 retro pastiche oddity the Nissan Figaro, some of which can still be spotted wheezing around London on their Micra underpinnings. 

The refreshing thing about the customers in the world’s largest car market is that they don’t seem to pay any attention to such trifling issues as material quality or driving refinement that we seem to get unduly hung up on in the European market. 

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Of course, it’s easy to get a little overexcited about the arrival of a Chinese brand in the UK (while MG sits huffing in the corner) and forget about the fact that a good chunk of the cars we already drive will have parts stamped with ‘Made in China’ somewhere about them. Indeed, the whole thing might have been put together there and shipped over with the post. And that Chinese company Volvo seems to be doing alright for itself. 

So sure, the company behind the Funky Cat might only have started building cars in 1984, but that’s loads longer than Tesla. And Great Wall Motors sold 1.3 million cars in 2021 – most of them SUVs and pick-up trucks – which amazingly makes it only the eighth largest carmaker in the country. 

No, forget the car industry snobbery, the real bravery is in getting a car with a stupid name that looks so funny. Still, the launch car gets wireless phone charging, surround view parking cameras and adaptive cruise control as standard, so that’s nice. 

Best EV if you’re feeling brave – Ora Funky Cat
Price: £31,995
Range: 193 miles
Engine: 169 bhp e-motor
Battery: 48kWh
Top speed: 99mph
0–62mph: 8.3secs
Boot space: 228 litres
Cats harmed in the making of this EV: 0 (that we know of)

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