What is it?
This is the very first model from HiPhi – a brand created by Chinese technology start-up Human Horizons, which clearly has the premium end of the EV market in its sights.
Described as a 'shooting cross', the HiPhi X's cab-forward stance is recognisable from other upcoming luxury EVs, such as the Faraday Future FF91, and the proportions are equally substantial. The X is longer than even the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, although it can't quite match the German limousine in terms of wheelbase.
A six-seater, the X also comes with lots of standard equipment, as you would expect on an upmarket car, and touts some surprising features, such as the part-suicide, part-gullwing rear doors similar to those seen on the Tesla Model X.
Underneath the body, the car's 97kWh skateboard battery feeds two 295bhp electric motors (one per axle) that are capable of firing it from 0-62mph in just 3.9sec. Suspension is by double wishbones at the front axle and multiple links and the rear.
Also noteworthy is the rear-wheel steering, which operates at up to 10deg to give the X a miniscule 11.6m turning circle.
What's it like?
There’s no doubt the X is a purpose-built EV, not least because it looks unlike anything currently on the road. The A-pillar joins the body just above the front wheel arch, as seen on mid-engined Lamborghinis. And as for those rear doors, the lower portions can be opened exclusively of the roof section, which can also hinge upward for ease of ingress.
Inside, and typical for the recent Chinese EV designs, the dashboard gives away much of its acreage to screens. Most of the cabin functions are controllable from either the 16.9in central display or voice commands. The driver also gets a digital instrument panel and a head-up display.
The dashboard also does away with the glovebox, replacing it with an entertainment screen for the passenger, while the dubiously named queen's seat – that is, the front passenger seat – can recline to a near-horizontal position. Meanwhile, the centre console has a wireless phone charger along with cupholders and a cubby. Further storage is offered up via hollows under the centre console and main screen.
In the second row, passengers get electrically operated 'commander' seats that each have an embedded USB port. Touch the door panel and an array of control then appear, including for the climate control, seat heating, seat cooling and massage functions.