Thunder Power electric cars at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show | CAR Magazine

Thunder Power electric cars at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show

Published: 12 September 2017

► Chinese EV brand promises to out-Tesla Tesla
► Sedan and Coupe in 2019; SUV in 2020
► Can it be sporty and have a 404-mile range?

Although this new marque might sound like some form of whizz-bangy toilet de-scaler – or a ThunderCats / Power Rangers mash-up – the Chinese corporation behind Thunder Power is convinced its forthcoming range of electric cars will be especially appealing to European consumers.

Why so? Well, the promise is sporty handling courtesy of a multi-link suspension arrangement combined with a battery range of over 400 miles. We’ve taken a closer look at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.

Sporty Thunder Power sounds good

It’s certainly a premise not typically associated with EVs, that’s true. But as yet the package is unproven so we’re working with theoretical numbers provided by Thunder Power’s marketing team.

Thunder Power Sedan - front - at Frankfurt 2017

The claim is up to 430kW of power – that’s equivalent to 577bhp – and a choice of rear-wheel drive (see, sportiness again) or four-wheel drive, with either two or three motors, depending on the specification.

The motors and 125kWh battery pack are housed in a Thunder Power-specific platform.

Catch-all performance figures suggest a 0-62mph time of less than four seconds, with a top speed of up to 155mph.

So is Thunder Power a wholly Chinese effort?

Nope, and unlike some less scrupulous Chinese brands, Thunder Power isn’t simply creating facsimiles of European cars; instead it’s using the continent’s influence to engineer its own.

That spaceframe platform is engineered in Germany, while the design of the bodywork and multi-link suspension originates in Italy.

When production begins in earnest in 2019 all models will be shipped from China.

Some of these new brands feel a bit ‘fly by night’…

So far Thunder Power’s range is at the prototyping stage, with no cars yet in private hands, but what’s on the show stand feels substantial – whether the production schedule pans out as hoped remains to be seen.

Thunder Power Sedan - rear - at Frankfurt 2017

The masterplan is for a three-model line-up of executive-sized EVs starting with a swoopy four-door Sedan and a two-door Coupe in 2019, the latter perhaps limited to 488 units.

From what’s been indicated so far, the styling is largely inoffensive, with smoothed-off, rounded forms and a nose dominated by a trio of concentric chromed rings.

The new Thunder Power SUV concept at Frankfurt 2017

Likely to be of greater interest in a Europe in love with crossovers is the Thunder Power SUV, the main unveil at Frankfurt. Incidentally, these highly, uh, descriptive names are likely to be replaced before sales commence.

Thunder Power SUV - rear - at Frankfurt 2017

That chrome mouth makes an appearance on the SUV too, but the overall look is more curvaceous and interesting, if still a little derivative.

Thunder Power sources wouldn’t be drawn on whether the rear-hinged back doors would see it through to production.

Product testing will continue through 2018 at which point it’ll be clearer whether this cut-price Tesla alternative genuinely is the real deal or if the plans have short-circuited.

Click here for the full A-Z of Frankfurt on CAR magazine

By Keith WR Jones

Former managing editor of the Bauer Automotive hub and car brochure library owner