Published on July 6th, 2021 | by Amirul Mukminin


Great Wall Motors Patents ORA Punk Cat EV In Europe

Somebody get the popcorn because a Chinese manufacturer is applying for a patent for its electric Beetle knockoff in Volkswagen’s home market.

The Volkswagen Beetle may have been a pet project of a ruthless dictator, but it was, without a doubt, one of the most iconic cars to ever grace the earth. So when Volkswagen decided to discontinue its longest-running nameplate in 2019, we couldn’t help but feel that the company was simply throwing away a seven-decade legacy out of the window.

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Sure, the Beetle was far from the ‘people’s car’ it once was and wasn’t exactly Volkswagen’s bread and butter but they could have given it a better treatment instead of squashing it to death. Look at the MINI Cooper, for example. The car, which was originally conceived as a fuel-saving, affordable transportation for the masses, has now spawned an entire lineup that has been very profitable. The Beetle could’ve taken the same path had Volkswagen put some more thought into it.

However, it appears that a Chinese car manufacturer is ready to pick up the baton and turn the Beetle into a money maker. That manufacturer is Great Wall Motors’ ORA, which took the stage at the Shanghai Auto Show back in April to showcase the Punk Cat, a retro-styled, five-door electric Beetle. According to Carscoops, Great Wall has patented not one but two Beetle-like designs with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU IPO).

Looking at the patent drawings, the first car appears to have exactly the same design details as the Shanghai show car. These include the circular headlamps and tail lights, horizontal slats on the front fenders as well as the wheels. Meanwhile, the second drawing shows a cartoonish version of the Punk Cat that appears to be slightly shorter than the car it is based on. This one has rectangular headlamps, closed-off wheels, round wing mirrors and what seems to be a charging port flap on the left front fender.

In addition, viewing from the front and rear reveals that this version has a flatter roof design and narrower fenders. Another element that sets it apart from the Punk Cat is the prominent spoiler set on the trunk.

Technical specifications for the Punk Cat are unknown at the time of writing but reports say that the it could feature a 106-kW electric motor mounted on the front axle, with multiple battery options that offer a driving range of 400 km to 500 km. The car is reportedly set to launch in China towards the end of this year and if the application for patent goes through, it could also be offered in Europe.

As for Volkswagen, they are certainly not sitting around watching Great Wall making money off their brainchild. It was reported in April that Volkswagen is ready to take legal action against the Chinese automaker but the whole process could be very exhausting, both in terms of time and money, as Great Wall apparently has patent protecting the Punk Cat. The patent is valid through 2026 and can be renewed every five years for a maximum period of 25 years.

It will be interesting to see how Volkswagen decides to approach this matter. Will they go full force on Great Wall to stop them from selling a Beetle rip-off in their own backyard? Let’s just wait and see. For all we know, this whole situation could lead to Volkswagen finally bringing the rumoured Beetle EV to fruition.

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