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NETA L: World's Fastest Charging EREV (+ Fridge!)

Issuing time:2024-05-30 14:26Author:Ethan Robertson

What is it?

Perspective is an important thing. Take, for example, the fact that here in the Chinese market, if you've got around 20,000 USD to buy a midsize SUV, you can choose between a steeply discounted Chevrolet Equinox with a 1.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, or you can buy the NETA L, an extended range EV that's more competitive than that car in almost every way. Our test car is a top spec model, so it actually comes in at a little over 22,000 USD.

NETA L.png

Boring, but for a reason

I've been pretty impressed by the transformation that NETA has undergone over the past couple of years, from a producer of drab little EVs to the people that brought us the stunning NETA S sedan and the NETA GT electric sports coupe. Things were looking up at NETA. They were looking exciting, sporty even. Then they dropped the NETA L, and the NETA L is many things, but it's not especially sporty.

While the NETA S has dramatic slashes for daytime running lights and separate lower headlight units, the face of the NETA L is much more conservative, much more traditional crossover, and more in line with other NETA SUVs. It does retain some of that NETA sporty design in the bowed shape of the front end, but overall, it just feels more mainstream.

Down the side and rear, nothing really stands out styling-wise. The taillights somewhat mimic those of the NETA S, but the brand has clearly played it safe with this car, and that makes sense. After all, it's aimed at one of the most competitive mass market segments. This is a functional, well-priced family SUV, so practicality and value are much more important than trying to redefine what it means to be an SUV with edgy design, and I'm okay with that.


Good fridge, bad plastic

I need you to brace yourself, because I'm about to tell you about a world’s first. The center console of the NETA L is a refrigerator, which is not a world's first. What is a world's first, at least according to NETA, is dual hinged opening on that refrigerator. I don't know how many NETA Ls they're going to sell based solely on this innovation alone, but its still a world's first. I would actually argue this isn't a great place to have a refrigerator, because, I don't know about you, but this is where I keep most of the stuff I use while driving, and honestly, I don't need my charging cables kept at -6 degrees Celsius.

The NETA L comes standard with a 15.6-inch center screen; however, this top spec car adds a 15.6-inch passenger screen. The center screen UI, which is powered by an Snapdragon 8155 processor, is not great. I didnt find it particularly easy to navigate or attractive, particularly the way that they layer the menus on top of each other. The instrument cluster, on the other hand, is a simple black-on-white UI that was simple and very legible.

Front row seats on this top spec model are also heated, ventilated and massaging. You also get a wireless charging pad on the center console, and the passenger seat has a zero-gravity function to go along with the passenger screen. P1044415.jpg


There ends the good news when it comes to the interior of the NETA L, because when it comes to fit, finish, and material quality, things are quite bad. Material quality starts off quite nice on the top of the door panels, but gets progressively worse as you go down. The patterned material on the doors and dash is sub-LEGO level quality, It's just nasty to the touch. As for fit and finish, everything squeaks and rattles on a car that had only been driven 4600 kilometers.

The second row has heated seats, but theres no physical button for turning them on. Instead, you have to use voice commands, which feels like much more of an inconvenience. The passenger seatback features a small fold-out table thats a little too high to be used as a mini work station, but large enough to eat serve as a tray or your lunch. Unfortunately, theres no 220v outlet, just a 12v and two USB ports. Headroom is quite capacious, as is legroom. Theres also got a good amount of space to put your feet under the front seat, so you can achieve a nice seating position. The 4.77-meter NETA L has 583 liters of space behind the second row, expanding to 1434 liters if you lay the second row flat.


Then things fall apart

There will be pure electric versions of the NETA L available in the future, but for now it is only available as an extended range EV. All extended range versions of the NETA L use the same combination of naturally-aspirated 1.5-liter four cylinder and rear mounted electric motor, making 170 kilowatts and 310 NM of torque . (225 hp/229 lb-ft).

There are, however, two different LFP battery packs available. Base cars get a 30-kilowatt hour pack with a claimed CLTC range of 220 kilometers, while all three trim levels above that get a 40-kilowatt hour pack with a claimed range of 310 kilometers. If you fill the NETA L with all the gas and electricity you can, it's claimed CLTC range is 1300 kilometers. According to NETA, the L is also the fastest charging extended range EV in the world, able to go from 30 to 80% in just 19 minutes.

NETA says at the base version of the NETA L can get to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds, whereas models with the larger pack take 8.2 seconds. Both of those times are more than fast enough for a family SUV, and remember, we're talking about electric motors. The instantaneous torque off the line means this thing feels a quicker than the numbers might suggest.


When the four-cylinder range extender up front actually turns on, which will happen automatically when it reaches a certain low state of charge for the battery, or by changing your powertrain mode, it's not especially noticeable. It's just a little bit more background hum and some vibration through the steering wheel. That goes double when you compare it to the NVH of ICE midsize SUVs equipped with small displacement engines, because remember, it's under a lot less strain. The engine in the NETA L is merely acting as a generator for the battery and the motor, it's not being asked to actually move the vehicle.

NETA has their own driver assistance system they call ND Pilot. It is vision- and radar-based, no lidar unit, but still L2 capable. Functions include, lane keep assist and lane change assist. While lane changes are quite slow, they are smooth, and I think this system sits at the current sweet spot of driver assistance: smart enough to be useful on a long road trip, but not so smart that it tries to do things that it's not actually capable of doing.

Then you turn the steering wheel to enter a corner and things just kind of fall apart. I expected the video-gamey steering and soft suspension with tons of body roll, but the NETA L goes over the edge from softly sprung to poorly tuned. A good suspension should bounce once or twice when it hits a bump, and then settle. The NETA bounces once...and then keeps on bouncing its way down the road. You average driver might not [ick up on this immediately, but they will be able to tell you this thing doesn't ride as well as their Honda.



So, it doesn't ride or handle as well as the BYD Yuan Plus that we use as a company vehicle here at Wheelsboy. But then again, our BYD Yuan Plus is smaller than this car. It also doesn't have heated, ventilated and massaging front row seats, or twin 15.6-inch center screens, or a refrigerator in the center console.

It seems pretty clear where NETA put their money when it came time to develop the L and it wasn't in interior material quality and chassis tuning. Still, I don't think that's going to keep it from being a competitive product here in the Chinese market. That goes double when they export.


NETA L 310

Engine: 1.5L 4-Cylinder

Motor: Rear-mounted

Transmission: Single-speed

Power: 170 kW, 310 Nm (225 hp/229 lb-ft)

Battery: 40-kWh

EV Range: 310 km CLTC

Total Range: 1300 km CLTC

0-100 km/h: 8.2

Size: 4770*1900*1660

Wheelbase: 2810 mm

CDM Price as tested: 22,000 USD

Article classification: Electric Vehicles
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