2017 JAC iEV7S Review
- All-electric range: 280 km / 173 miles
- Onboard charging options: Fast charge mode — 0 to 80% in 1 hour/ 0 to 100% in 1.5 hours. Slow charge mode — 0 to 100% in 7 hours.
- Motor power: 113 horsepower | 85 kW
- Torque: 199 lb-ft / 270 Nm
- Battery capacity: 39 kWh
- Battery type: Ternary lithium battery
- Top speed: 130 km per hour / 80 mph
- Base price: 206,900 RMB ($31,258) without subsidies, or 119,500 RMB, ($18,054) with subsidies (48,400 state subsidies + local subsidies 24,000 + i blue enjoy the Fund 15,000)
On 27th October, JAC released the newest entry in its pure-electric lineup, the iEV7S, an SUV equipped with the latest technology from JAC.
I was able to experience the iEV7S by getting an iEV7S taxi in Hefei. Although, the iEV7S is also available at JAC dealerships.
At first look, the 2017 JAC iEV7S is a copy of the 2016 JAC iEV6S, but if you look closer, the design and technology is a step up in quality and features. The iEV7S, like its predecessors, has bright blue highlights. It has 5 doors and blends into the better styled end of China’s mix of compact SUVs and crossovers.
Looking closer at the design, you will notice some beautiful design details around its front lights, the blue offsetting the silver and highlighting the Honeycomb fake grill. The iEV7S compared to many of the me-too crossovers from foreign and domestic firms in China is vastly more stylish.
Inside the iEV7S, the design is also vastly improved from the last generation. The red leather improves on the white plastic dashboard of the iEV6S. Other internal design features are tastefully implemented and offer everything expected of a modern Chinese car.
Editor’s note: The red, while not really my thing, gives the car a sporty look. I’m going to guess that, like everywhere else humans roam and buy cars, this sportiness helps this EV and EVs in general to sell better.
Beyond the iEV7S external design, the price is reasonable, starting at 206,900 RMB, approximately $31,258 (without subsidies) or 119,500 RMB, approx. $18,054 (with subsidies) with a range of 173 miles NEDC rated (280 km) to 217 miles (350 km). The main question is if this compact SUV will compete in and grow the Chinese electric car market. Do its technical specs, price, and quality compare to the other cars on the market?
In China, you have cars such as the BAIC EX200 EV (price before subsidies: RMB 206,900, approx. $31,258 | range: 200 km), BYD e6 (price before subsidies: RMB 309,800, approx. $46,933 | range: 400 km), and Geely Emgrand EV (price before subsidies: RMB 251,800, approx. $38,146 | range: 253 km). In the EV, PHEV, and ICE markets, how will this offering compare in the wider Chinese marketplace and what will the customer demand be. Personally, looking at the present offering from auto manufactures, I think the iEV7S is a car to watch.
With other longer range EVs entering the global marketplace — like the Chevy Bolt, Model 3, and new Nissan LEAF — it will be interesting to see if JAC enters the global passenger EV market and if it could compete with established brands.
The Driving Experience
While I’ve only been able to experience the drive from the passenger seat of an iEV7S taxi, I’ve been impressed by its speed, stability, and range. The local taxi drivers are pleased with the fast charging ability, being able to charge to full in a hour and a half has allowed them to keep driving and earning money.
The iEV7S is not JAC’s first foray into electric vehicles. The iEV brand has been in development since 2010 and the driving experience shows that they have learned what an electric vehicle needs to be.
The driving specs:
- Top speed: 130 km/h (80 mph)
- 0–100 km/h (62mph): 11 Seconds
- Regenerative breaking: Yes
Fast (enough) acceleration, comfortable seating, and good driver-assist technology make it a great showcase in how to make a good electric car. While the Model 3 might have more style and advanced technology, it is presently not sold in China, so we need good ambassadors of sustainable transport now. The price on this car, especially with subsidies, is in a different range as well.
The electric range of 173 miles ensures that the iEV7S easily deals with daily commutes and daily travel, with JAC’s own internally developed fast charging technology being able to charge the car to 80% in a hour from the many city and intercity fast chargers in China. This actually opens up the genuine possibility of intercity driving and travel across China.
While a 1 hour charge rate for this range of a car pales in comparison to Tesla Supercharger speeds, it is an improvement to the previous generation and shows that JAC understands the needs of consumers.
The iEV7S brings some welcome technological upgrades with it. The first major upgrade is its battery technology. Liquid cooling has replaced air cooling, which will impact the charging and operating environment safety as well as longevity of the battery. Secondly, this is the first iEV with regenerative braking, which increases the range and allows for one foot driving. Plus, it’s the first Chinese-developed system. Thirdly, additional safety and driving comfort features have been added, such as cruise control and automatic parking — while not Autopilot, it’s a significant improvement. JAC is creating a good technology suit for drivers that significantly improves the driving experience and safety at not too high a cost.
CarLife adds additional functionality to the 8 inch media screen. While an 8 inch screen pales in comparison to the Tesla central screen and computer, it adds useful functions. One such function is remote diagnostics. Many other features can be mentioned, such as keyless entry and one-button start, but I have not personally tested these features.
Compared to the Model 3 or Roadster, this won’t win a beauty competition, but compared to the present SUV and crossover market, this car is good looking. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s conventional look and styling with only limited blue futuristic design flourishes is better for mass market appeal. The key thing is this car is still not developed from the ground up electric — you can see the fuel port covered by a metal plate, while the two battery ports have been moved to a slot under the badge.
The back of the car has the EV badge and hatch, giving good entrance to the boot, but the show is stolen by the massive rear lights that look like eyes.
Sitting down into the leather seats of the iEV7S revealed a well appointed interior that is vastly better than the previous iEV6S. Compare the first iEV6S white with iEV7S leather red further up the article. The stylish and modern interior with an 8 inch screen that could be used to access navigation, radio, energy usage, and CarPlay features — this is getting to be the norm in design.
One of my complaints with the iEV6S was its interior headroom, which meant my head hit the roof. Now, in the iEV7S, this aspect has been solved. I am 193 cm (6′ 3″) tall, so the average carbuyer might not be impacted by this.
The overall size is 4135mm*1750mm*1560mm, and the overall wheelbase is 2490mm. The inside seems roomy — my wife felt comfortable sitting in the back driving along and loved its comfortable and smooth drive. The vehicle is higher up than the sedan iEV7, which makes it more comfortable entering and exiting the iEV7S.
The rear boot has good storage space and areas to store the charging cables. We could get our luggage into the back with ease. The only thing is, unlike the Tesla, the engine compartment is used to store the electronics of the car. While the battery is mostly under the car, it’s not a skateboard design due to being based on a modified petrol car. This means no frunk and design features carried over from the JAC S2, which it is based on.
The car press release boasts that its chassis is adjusted by German experts and had breakthroughs in multiple anti-impact technologies. This might be in reference to the recent partnership between JAC and Volkswagen AG on electric vehicles. The iEV7S has complete vehicle safety testing to the ASIL C-level.
The Electric Specs
The iEV7S comes with a fast charger based on the Chinese fast charging standard that can charge the car to 100% in one and a half hours, and 80% in one hour. The slow charger takes 7 hours to charge the battery to 100%. The fast charging rate is high for China and a car with this range.
The 85 kW electric motor has the same power as the previous generation but does boast regenerative braking, which has been missing in Chinese electric cars. The battery is different than last generation, the iEV6S being discontinued due to the Samsung SDI batteries not getting the EV subsidies, leading to the car costing significantly higher than it should.
The liquid-cooled 39 kWh ternary lithium battery packs are a step up technologically for JAC, allowing the car to be sold in more markets due to its ability to handle more cold and hot environments. Additionally, the whole powertrain of the car has an 8 year warranty, which gives customers additional security.
The JAC iEV7S is a stylish, affordable, and modern electric car that stands out against its competition. The range, charging rate, and cost open up reasonably priced but safe electric cars to a wider population. It is foreseeable that this car could lead the Chinese electric car market in the coming year.
If JAC would like to invite me to press-drive events and photo shoots of the iEV7S or other electric car events, I would be open. Until then, the iEV7S taxi and car showroom will have to do. 🙂