May 28, 2024
Scary: Dongfeng M-Hero 1 electric car in the driving report

Scary: Dongfeng M-Hero 1 electric car in the driving report

With the M-Hero 1 electric off-road vehicle, the Hero brand from the giant Chinese multi-brand group Dongfeng is coming to Europe for the first time. Further models are to follow. The appearance of the 4.99 meter long and over two meter wide electric luxury off-road vehicle is explicitly martial and another example of the growing gap between normal car users and very wealthy customers. Its four electric motors produce up to 800 kW.


At 3140 kg, the M-Hero 1 is heavy even for an electrically powered off-road vehicle. The permissible total weight is 3920 kg. A payload of just over, and depending on the equipment probably even less than, 500 kg is extremely small for a vehicle of this size. A volume of 452 to 1137 liters is available for light luggage. In addition, depending on the conditions, such as mud, sand or rubble, lighter vehicles often have significant advantages over heavier ones in challenging terrain.

The permissible total weight is 3920 and the payload is 500 kg.
(Image: Dongfeng)

In order for this vehicle, which is not at all aerodynamic, to achieve its 450 kilometer range in the WLTP, an appropriately sized and therefore heavy energy storage device is required. It holds 142 kWh. With a maximum charging power of 100 kW, according to the manufacturer, it can be filled from 30 (!) to 80 percent in 47 minutes at best. This is a very weak value, even considering the enormous energy content. Dongfeng has not yet revealed how long AC charging with 11 kW takes.

The M-Hero 1 is faster on the asphalt than at the charging station, which is a completely irrelevant discipline for an off-road vehicle. Given the weight and the sheer silhouette of the front, 4.2 seconds to 100 km/h and a top speed of 180 km/h are amazing values ​​in themselves.

The M-Hero 1 offers independent suspension on double wishbones with air suspension and adaptive dampers. If necessary, the rear wheels turn by a maximum of 10.6 degrees, which reduces the turning circle to just 10.2 meters. This is an advantage in the city, but also off-road. If necessary, it can benefit from a sideways crab walk, with all four wheels pointing in the same direction. The M-Hero performs pretty well on the road, but the brakes should be more controllable and the control systems could intervene a little more smoothly. When accelerating out of a tight corner, the rear wheels searched for traction for almost a second. This should be improved until the off-road vehicle comes to Europe this year.

Driving quickly and often in dynamic mode, we reported an average consumption of 45.3 kWh/100 km. In the city in the Eco driving program with a very forward-looking driving style, the electricity requirement drops to 28.7 kWh. Mind you: These are net values ​​from the on-board computer – without charging losses.

The M-Hero 1 has a classic ladder frame, but independent suspension, which benefits comfort, but can limit off-road mobility due to limited mobility compared to rigid axles, depending on the design. The Kraxler performs remarkably well, as the wheels maintain contact with the ground for a long time even when they are heavily twisted. This is the only way they can transfer enough power to the ground to overcome even challenging obstacles.

As always in such situations, it is advisable not to fully extend the air suspension in order not to unnecessarily restrict the articulation and thus the traction. The maximum wading depth is 90 centimeters, a very good value compared to conventional off-road vehicles, where water sucked into their combustion engines is almost certain to be fatal.

If the chassis reaches its limits, traction is ensured by mechanical limited-slip differentials at the front and rear, despite two motors per axle. The M-Hero 1 uses an off-road gear ratio to increase torque. This makes it one of the rare electric cars with two gears.

Depending on the surface, you can choose the most suitable off-road mode for snow, mud, sand, water or rocks yourself or have the system orchestrate the assistance functions automatically. In any case, gradients of 100 percent are specified. Of course, the M-Hero 1 also has a hill descent aid, which imitates the classic engine brake with automatic braking interventions and at the same time ensures that the car does not swerve sideways on steep terrain and, in the worst case, roll over. During the test drive, this important safety function did not appear to be working properly, but like the slip control already mentioned, it will be improved by the market launch in Germany. The difficulties with slip control and hill descent control can probably be attributed to the same area, because both use braking interventions for control.

The interior is dominated by leather, chrome applications and of course screen opulence with a 12.3-inch instrument panel including a head-up display and a 15.6-inch touchscreen in the middle. The passenger looks at another 12.3-inch screen. You can find your way around the infotainment menus pretty quickly. There are also some classic analog controls.

The price for the Swiss is 148,990 Swiss francs, equivalent to 152,670 euros. It is not yet known what the M-Hero 1 will cost in Germany. In China, the car is called Mengshin 917, which means “bodyguard”. Not only does the M-Hero 1 look passive-aggressive, in China it also features a drone with a take-off and landing pad on the roof and a nail spreader to distance pursuers. Scary extras of this kind should expressly not be offered in Europe.


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