The GWM Ora is one Australia’s more affordable EVs with pricing that sits just slightly ahead of the entry level models of the MG4 or BYD Dolphin. It’s also got one of the best car names ever in other markets, where it’s sold as the Funky Cat. I will never not think that it’s a mistake it wasn’t sold that way in Australia.
However, there are bigger issues today if you’re an owner of a GWM Ora in Australia, because it’s the subject of a recall notice.
Now, recall notices for cars – EV or not – are a matter of course, and in the case of some cars, they can be as simple as an over-the-air software update, not the sign of a serious flaw. But not in this case.
Why recall the GWM Ora?
As per the Ora recall notice, if a driver tries to remove the charging cable from the Ora without first cancelling or stopping the charge process, it could get… sparky. To quote directly:
“If an electrical arc comes into contact with the operator or bystanders it will increase the risk of serious injury or death.”Source: Ora Recall Notice, Vehicle Recalls
That’s quite the problem.
What’s The Fix for the GWM Ora?
GWM says that it will “contact affected owners in writing” – here’s hoping that’s email rather than snail mail – “requesting they make an appointment at their preferred GWM Dealer who will update the vehicle software, free of charge.”
Don’t want to wait for GWM to be in touch as part of the Ora recall? I can’t say I blame you.
First step would be to grab the VIN of your Ora and check it against this list. According to the recall notice, some 1,659 Oras are affected across Australia.
GWM has a list of its local dealers across Australia here, and as they’re listed in the recall notice, it’s safe to assume that they’re all going to be able to run the fix on your Ora to make it safe again. It is apparently a software, not hardware fix that’s required, which should hopefully also mean it’s a reasonably quick matter to get rectified
Is It Safe To Charge Or Drive The Ora In The Meantime?
That’s the question, isn’t it?
As per the recall, the safest way to approach this, it seems, would be to ensure that you always cancel the charge before heading anywhere near the charging port, especially from a higher-capacity charger.
Electricity will try to earth through the most efficient way possible, and you never, ever want that way to involve your body at all.
I’ve reached out to GWM Australia for clarification on this issue and any other advice they may have for Ora buyers, and I’ll update with any responses.
Update: Here’s GWM’s official statement on the safety issues and best way to handle this issue if you’re an Ora owner.
The Ora remains safe to drive and we recommend that owners affected by the recall make an appointment with their local dealer to have the issue rectified, upon receiving communication from GWM.
In the meantime, we also recommend owners to follow the process of cancelling the charge from the charge station before removing the charging plug from the vehicle.Source: GWM Statement to Gizmodo Australia
Does this mean that all EVs are unsafe?
Not at all – what it shows – similar to the battery fire potential issue we saw with the EV Porsche Taycan a few months back – is that Australia’s safety systems are working as they’re intended to keep Australians safe. While EVs are not immune from issues, that’s true of any car.
This is a serious issue that shouldn’t be ignored without doubt, and it’s not a good look for this particular EV – but it’s not an indicative matter for all EVs as a category.
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