All EV makers should have a Ballet Cat

I was lucky enough to be a visitor to Auto China 2024. It is stunningly beautiful in many ways. The walk paths are wider, the sound is more tolerable per booth, and all the cars are lit well. Being the premiere motor show in China, of course it served as a platform for many EV concepts and upcoming production vehicles. Everyone is vying to be the hottest EV on the block and so they fight in terms of price, range, and features. However, there’s one aspect that’s seldom discussed – design.

Right now, most EVs are chasing the same look, including those that are here in the Philippines. Imagine a group of 30 people in a conference room wearing the same attire – dark suit, light shirt, tie, dress shoes. Sure, they’ll have differences in tiny details like the pattern on the suit, the color of the shirt and tie, if visible, the color of socks, and of course the design of their shoes. However, if you look at them as a group, no one stands out in particular.

That’s my issue with EVs right now. Their only identifiers are their brand, range, and in some cases, their performance. Gone are the days where a car is enticing to drive not just because of their performance but also their exterior and interior design.

Enter the Ora Ballet Cat. This EV is obviously inspired by vintage German design but has taken it to the 21st century. Neo-retro isn’t new in the car industry globally but what makes the Ora Ballet Cat an eye-catcher is its bright attitude. All colors feature a 2-tone theme, the cabin has a bright motif with modern amenities and best of all, its headlights, DRL, and taillights are shaped like smiling animé eyes. 

Unlike the car that inspired its design, the Ballet Cat has a conventional placement for its powertrain while the rear has a powered tailgate assembly. It’s also bigger, sized like a subcompact crossover (think Toyota Yaris Cross) while having the capacity to run from 400km to 500km depending on the variant. 

The cabin is a classic design with modern amenities. There are oval shapes on the dash for the vents, a panoramic screen for the gauge and infotainment, as well as an armrest that also has a wireless charging pad. 

Only caveat with the Ora Ballet Cat is its interior theme. I’m not sure if there are other color themes for the cabin but the two samples I saw during my test drive in China with GWM, both have the same white/peach color (including the sample in the net). That’s because Ora is marketing their EV line primarily towards women. It even has features like warm lower back support to help alleviate menstrual pain while driving. 

This is what the EV industry needs. This is the reason why the Tesla Cybertruck had a lot of pre-orders. EVs should go beyond range and performance numbers. They need a personality to stand out and make you want to drive them. It also helps that it’s priced relatively well, starting at 193,000RMB (around PHP 1,500,000) up to 223,000RMB (around PHP 1,780,000) with all the options. But again, beyond the price, range, and power, the Ballet Cat is definitely a car that speaks to you and whispers “let’s go to the mall and chill” or any other excuse just to be driven. 

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