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China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs

Shaun · Sep 26, 2023 04:29 PM

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 01

For the Malaysian market, GAC may be a name that's only recently started to make its presence felt, but the company has ambitious plans for the future with local partner WTC Automotif (WTCA, a Tan Chong Group company).

But before we walkthrough the plans for the powertrains of tomorrow, let’s take a closer look at GAC’s background.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 02

GAC Aion's flagship Hyper SSR EV.

Who is GAC?

The Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC Group) was established in June 1997 and headquartered in Zhujiang New Town. Currently, GAC Motor has expanded its sales and after-sales operations in several Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

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Malaysia was GAC Motor's first venture into the right-hand drive (RHD) market, introducing the GS3 as the inaugural RHD model. In May 2023, GAC initiated its local assembly (CKD) project in Malaysia at the WTCA Segambut factory - the first CKD project for GAC in the world.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 01

WTCA is focused on enhancing the GAC brand image and intends to establish more than 21 GAC showrooms gradually. The first GAC flagship store is anticipated to commence operations in the fourth quarter of 2023.

WTCA also plans to introduce a range of right-hand drive GAC models, including SUVs, sedans, and MPVs, over the next five years to cater to the Malaysian market's demands.

Also read: Tan Chong to soon launch CKD GAC GS3 in Malaysia, Segambut plant to get RM 60 million in upgrades

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 02

GAC GS3 Emzoom

One confirmed model is the GAC GS3 Emzoom, to which WTCA CEO Tan Keng Meng has said that CKD production is slated to commence in April 2024, with sales expected to kick off in mid-2024. Other models have yet to be announced, but we can make some speculations based on the current models in China.

Also read: Nissan losing ground in ASEAN, Tan Chong bets on GAC to return it to 50k annual sales peak

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 03

GAC GS3 Emzoom

Some of the core models in GAC's current lineup include:

  • GS3 Emzoom: B-segment SUV that will go against the like of Chery Omoda 5, Proton X50, etc.
  • Emkoo: A C-segment SUV, built on the latest Global Platform Modular Architecture (GPMA).
  • Empow: A C-segment sedan, GAC’s answer to the Honda Civic.
  • GS8: Built on the L variation of the GPMA platform, the GS8 is the GAC’s flagship 7-seater SUV model, available with the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) that's licensed by Toyota, via BluE Nexus.
  • M8: Positioned as a Chinese business luxury MPV, an alternative to the Toyota Alphard/Vellfire.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 04

GAC M8

Future Plans for Powertrain

Looking ahead, GAC has set its sights on an ambitious future that aligns with the global push towards carbon neutrality, with a range of powertrain technologies contributing to a sustainable future for the automotive industry.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 05

One of them is the Mega Waves Hybrid technology, which matches a 2.0L hydrogen fuel combustion engine with the second-generation GMC electromechanical coupling system. This approach combines the benefits of hydrogen fuel while achieving carbon neutrality for passenger cars through hybrid technology.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 06

Next up is hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (EV) technology. With a refuelling time of 3-5 minutes and a range of 650 to 800 km on a single tank, this could be the answer to long-distance driving and quick refilling.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 07

Nevertheless, GAC acknowledges that the primary obstacle to hydrogen fuel cell adoption is cost, particularly concerning the hydrogen storage tank. However, there's optimism within the company as they suggest that hydrogen fuel cell technology could potentially enter production as soon as 2025.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 08

GAC is also conducting research into battery technologies through its Aion EV sub-brand. Among their areas of exploration are Silicon Anode Technology, which is purported to offer a reduction in both volume and weight by as much as 20% when compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 09

There’s also the "magazine battery," which is said to have exceptional resistance to high temperatures and stability.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 10

Finally, we arrive at a technological concept that was once confined to the realm of science fiction: flying cars.

GAC unveiled its first flying car, GOVE, which stands for GAC On the Go, Vertical. EV. This vehicle represents a modular design that seamlessly integrates attributes from both aircraft and automobiles, facilitating travel both in the skies and on the road.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 11

But what’s the catch? We were informed of two primary hurdles to overcome: the weight of batteries impacting range and compliance with local aerial regulations. Hence, further studies are required. However, they also envision the possibility of commercialisation by the year 2030.

China's GAC lineup of flying cars, Toyota tech hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen are ready for the world's diverse customer needs 12

GAC's forward-looking vision for the future of mobility is evident, and they are taking a diversified approach. Similar to Toyota's multi-pathway strategy, GAC is addressing a wide spectrum of customer requirements worldwide by embracing hybrid, EV, and hydrogen technologies.

Also read: Straight from a sci-fi film - GAC unveils its first EV modular flying car

Shaun

Senior Writer

The quest for automotive knowledge began as soon as the earliest memories. Various sources information, even questionable ones, have been explored including video games, television, magazines, or even internet forums. Still stuck in that rabbit hole.

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