Volkswagen Has a SOL
On the 24th of April, 2018, at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show, Volkswagen Group held a massive press conference showing off cars like the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo, Lamborghini Urus, and other high flyers, but the most interesting to the Chinese market was the SOL E20X.
At the press conference, Jianghuai Volkswagen Automotive Co., Ltd, a joint venture between JAC (Jianghuai Automobile) and Volkswagen Group, unveiled a new brand — SOL — which was already leaked and reported on by me last month. At the even today, they debuted the first of three models.
The first model — the SOL E20X — is a small electric SUV which is expected to be on the market in the third quarter. The SOL E20X is based on JAC’s iEV7S platform, with some modifications to its styling. However, they are also promising that it will exceed 300 kilometres (186 miles) of range based on the NEDC rating systems, which is generally regarded as unreliable but at least gives some sense of how EVs compare.
SOL E20X a Badge Swap?
Based on appearance and the technical details revealed, the SOL E20X is a cosmetic redesign of the existing JAC iEV7S. For example, the length and height of the SOL E20X have been reported as 4135/1750/1560 mm and the wheelbase is 2490 mm, while this is the info from a JAC press release about the iEV7S: “iEV7S overall size is 4135mm*1750mm*1560mm and the wheelbase is 2490mm.” This seems to indicate that this platform is a simple cosmetic redesign. That said, being a cosmetic redesign does not take away from the fact that it is a good design and redesign.
Exterior Appearance of SOL E20X
The SOL E20X takes from the iEV7S its proportions and many components, but it creates a new stylish design, taking some popular design cues Volkswagens Group’s Seat brand. The design of the front fascia of the car is very reminiscent of the 2017 Seat Ibiza. The SOL E20X has a closed grille that hides the charging ports, which has a light strip that runs between the headlights that flank the grille. The face of the car is stylish and contains some nice design solutions for electric cars.
The side profile of the car echoe the iEV7S again — the design is flowing and smooth, which comes from the original design, and even the roof rack is from the iEV7S. Something might also stand out to our readers, the SOL E20X has a fuel port on its side and one under its grille, this is a vestigial panel from the JAC S3, the internal combustion engine SUV that the iEV7S is based on.
The light strip that connects the headlamps is mirrored by a light band that runs between the taillights. This symmetry is very satisfying and beautiful in my opinion.
Interior Appearance of SOL E20X
The interior of the SOL E20X is like the exterior — it is a pretty superficial redesign the iEV7S. It is not such a massive change that components are very different. The interior of the car on display was mostly black with some additional silver plastic and stitched leather. The air vents are redesigned but the central console is from the iEV7S. Other software and hardware is copied or redesigned for the SOL E20X — the keyless entry, push key start, smart charging, automatic parking, 360 degree parking camera, intelligent voice control, and remote monitoring are also in the iEV7S.
The Technology & Performance of SOL E20X
The technical information that has been provided is that the SOL E20X has ternary lithium-ion batteries, its maximum motor power is 85 kilowatts (116 horsepower), and an NEDC range greater than 300 kilometres (186 miles), which is an exact mirror of the iEV7S electric powertrain. From what I have read and seen, the electric powertrain of the SOL E20X is the iEV7S electric powertrain, which means it will have the same performance.
AI & Intelligent Connectivity
Based on the press release, the SOL E20X will utilise AI and provide intelligent connectivity, which has been a big buzzword trend in the Chinese automotive market and R&D world.
The Future of SOL
Jianghuai Volkswagen Automotive Co., Ltd, will be utilising a low-cost method of developing electric cars — cosmetically redesigning existing electric cars, then selling them under a western brand. The lineup will be the SUV SOL E20X followed by a compact car based on the JAC iEV7E and a sedan which will most likely be based on the JAC iEVA50. The latter is going to be unveiled at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show.
The SOL E20X small SUV is a well designed electric car with a good range and features. Personally, I would be interested in doing a more hands-on-review of the car, production, and the joint venture if I can get the access and time. Let’s keep an eye of this brand.