Flamboyant HiPhi A lays down 1305hp gauntlet

China's sleeping EV giant hasn't given Europe much to worry about – does the 'ultimate four-door' change that?

By PH Staff / Wednesday, 15 November 2023 / Loading comments

We haven’t talked a lot about Chinese manufacturer HiPhi – but that isn’t for want of global significance. In case you didn’t know, the EV startup is killing it in its gargantuan domestic market, and tentatively launched in Europe earlier this year (most notably in plug-in-adoring Norway). In time, it will launch in the UK, and bring with it a design-led saloon and SUV, named Z and X respectively. Each is likely to retail for around £100k in the upmarket electric car segment. 

But this isn’t them. Likely sensing that it will need something with a bit more ankle on display in the not-too-distant future – not to mention the kind of absurd output boast that commands headlines – the firm has revealed the new 1305hp HiPhi A via a livestream event from Shanghai ahead of a physical reveal at the Guangzhou Auto Show. Its maker calls it a hypercar – which is just the sort of tosh an EV startup comes out with – but describing it as the ‘ultimate 4-door 4-seater’ is certainly nearer the mark. 

Built in partnership with something called WESAIL New Energy Automotive (no, us neither – but think bleeding-edge electric motor tech) the A inevitably boasts startling on-paper performance figures. Elsewhere on the internet, it has been breathlessly suggested that it might be sufficient to challenge the likes of the Rimac Nevera (yeah right – perhaps if it were made of papier-mâché) but even leaving aside the hyperbole, there’s no denying that 62mph ‘in just over 2 seconds’ and a targeted top speed of 187mph is brisk even by loopy EV standards. 

Of course, that’s what you tend to get these days if you opt for a tri-motor layout (one at the front, two to the rear) backed up by 800v architecture and a new battery pack which is said to discharge 1.5MW of power at its peak. HiPhi declines to detail the overall capacity of that battery or the individual output of the motors, but suggests that everything is cutting edge – not least because the A is the first model that features a powertrain developed in-house. 

Accordingly, expect innovative features like a carbon fiber bullet-proof bottom shield for the battery and a ‘fireproof sprayed carbon fibre top cover’ too. Composite features in the rotors of the new motors too (handy when they’re claimed to peak at 22,000rpm) and – we assume – in a body that incorporates ‘extra wide tyres’. You’ll likely be wanting those, no doubt – and the rear-wheel active steer, uprated torque vectoring and continuously variable dampers that HiPhi reckons have improved cornering by 15 per cent (presumably compared with the Z). No word on what it weighs, mind – but expect a near-as-makes-no-difference 50/50 distribution of whatever it is. 

As for the dramatic look, HiPhi says it pays ‘tribute to the classics while looking firmly to the future’ – which is another way of saying it builds on the manufacturer’s current box of tricks with some serious-looking aero addenda. Apparently, the development process will benefit from a collaboration with the Intelligent Manufacturing System Center of ShanghaiTech University, with a view to maximising the potential of 3D printing technology. We await more details on that and much else, but HiPhi is aiming for a ‘limited series run’ in early 2025. Just when it needs to remind British buyers that there is a new-kid-on-the-block alternative to the Taycan. 

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