A year with my Coolray PHEV: the car that exceeded all my expectations.
Geely Auto offers several mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid models under its ePro series, a range of vehicles that pair Volvo and Geely’s jointly developed 1.5T engine with an electric motor and a battery pack to give 58km of pure electric range and offer fuel-sipping frugality – in hybrid mode fuel consumption drops to as low as 1.4L per 100km. The Geely ePro range launched in 2019, first with the Emgrand GT (Bo Rui) but soon other models were added such as the Emgrand, Jiaji MPV, Xing Yue and of course the Coolray.
Looking at my daily needs of simply going to work and back (with the occasional weekend adventure), my brain naturally navigated towards the Coolray PHEV – small enough to nip around the city but big enough to be fun. Did I mention that the Coolray ePro PHEV system is also incredibly powerful? It offers 177bhp from the engine, plus a further 80bhp from the motor, which combined produces over 260bhp and 410Nm of torque.
A year of driving, and over 10,000km later, am I happy with my decision to buy a Coolray?
The Coolray ePro is also “smart” in selecting which power source to use: when you set the destination in the GPS, it will automatically choose the powertrain option for the journey. Generally speaking, it will utilise electricity in urban environments and hybrid mode on highways, which also helps to re-charge any power you might’ve used from your battery.
The fuel savings
I’ve gone from spending over 800 yuan on gas to less than 200 yuan per month, with an extra 80 yuan on electricity for charging the battery. My commutes are almost always in pure electric mode, only dipping into the gasoline when necessary. I can charge at work or home on a 7kw charger that charges the battery in less than 90 minutes. On the downside, public charging stations have largely abandoned lower voltages in favour of fast charging, something that the ePro range doesn’t offer (yet).
Ok – it’s a compact car, so space was never one of my main reasons for buying. There are plenty of places to cleverly store items out of sight, and whilst the trunk isn’t huge, it’s big enough to place several suitcases, or as I recently found out, enough stuff to go camping for the weekend along with two bikes on the roof.
The Coolray PHEV has plenty of power and it knows how to apply it. The driving dynamics can be changed from Economical, to Comfort to Sport, with each one having a distinct personality that instantly alters the car’s feeling for whoever’s driving it. Naturally, being a born-again ecowarrior driving a PHEV, I keep my car in Economy mode most of the time.
After installing the roof rack, wind noise has increased an incredible amount, especially when driving in EV mode. On the other hand, having the roof rack makes it look more ready for anything – I’ll keep it on and turn up the music.
The Coolray also sits somewhere between a hatchback and a crossover, giving it a higher riding position, which is perfect for me as I often spend my weekends in rural areas where roads can go from tarmac to dirt really quick.
The biggest impact on my day-to-day life has been the addition of the Chinese music streaming app QQ Music that keeps my cellphone’s playlist synced with my car at all times. Another feature that I use non-stop through 35-degree summer days is the pre-cooling of the car before I get into it. Simply open Geely’s GKUI app, set the temp and your car will be cool when you get into it.
Fuel savings, performance, intelligence – these are the points that make the Coolray PHEV a winner for me. The initial decision of which car to buy was a difficult one, but after a year of driving and just over 14,000km travelled, I have nothing but praise for my tiny powerhouse. I bought the Coolray PHEV as a day-to-day commuter vehicle and the occasional weekend “escape-the-city” car, but in the last year it’s completely exceeded all my expectations. Here’s to another 14,000km!