Plug-in hybrid Haval has the range to challenge the big boys

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Haval's HB-02 debuted in Beijing, and showcases a new hybrid powertrain

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It's not just automotive powerhouses like Mercedes and Volvo preparing for an electric driven future; smaller players like Haval are also developing electric powertrains in an attempt to put them ahead of the curve. The Haval HB-02 concept is evidence of this, with a plug-in hybrid powertrain offering 65 km (40 mi) of pure EV motoring.

As well as being a handsome beast, the HB-02 shows off some clever plug-in hybrid technology from Haval. The car's powertrain combines a turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine with a front-mounted electric motor, for a total system torque of 450 Nm (332 lb-ft).

Just like most modern plug-in powertrains, Haval's concept has a few different drive modes. The default is hybrid mode, which automatically shuffles power between the gasoline and electric motors for maximum efficiency, but lead-foots can switch to power mode to take full advantage of the car's combined electric and gasoline output for a 9 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph).

Perhaps the most impressive drive mode in the HB-02's repertoire is pure electric mode. Drawing on power from the rear-mounted 13-kWh lithium-ion battery, the concept can cover 65 km with no local emissions from the 95-kW (127-hp), 278-Nm (205-lb-ft) electric motor. The battery can be charged in four hours using a standard home wall socket, and there's regenerative braking to harvest energy on the move as well.

Although they're just claims on a concept car at the moment, if Haval can manage to replicate them in a production car it could throw a cat among the pigeons. After all, the BMW X5 xDrive40e can manage just 31 km (19 mi) in pure electric mode, and Volvo's XC90 T8 Hybrid will cover 40 km (25 mi) before the gasoline engine gets involved.

It's always worth taking claimed fuel economy figures with a grain of salt, especially when big plug-in hybrids are concerned, but Haval is claiming fuel use figures of just 2.1 L/100km (112 US mpg).

The HB-02 was shown off at the Beijing Auto Exhibition, and is expected to find its way into production vehicles as early as next year.

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