Founded in 2015, Li Auto specialises in range-extender vehicles, i.e. electric cars powered by a combustion engine and a generator. But this March, the manufacturer is launching its first purely electric car, the Li Mega. This large MPV may never arrive in the UK, but its extremely rapid charging makes it a technical delight.

The Li Mega was first presented at the Guangzhou Motor Show in November 2023. It's a 5.35-metre-long MPV with a strangely sleek appearance, an imposing height of 1.85 metres and seven seats. Deliveries start in March.

Li Mega
Li Mega
Li Mega

Electricity is stored in a Qilin battery from CATL, with a total capacity of 103 kWh. This should give a range of 441 miles, but according to the Chinese CLTC standard. However, the real highlight is the extremely fast charging, made possible by the 800-volt system.

According to the company's website, it is possible to achieve a charging power of 520 kW (with a current intensity of 700 amps). As far as we know, this is a world record. The Rimac Nevera is supposed to reach 500 kW, the Lotus Eletre 350 kW, the new Porsche Taycan 320 kW and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 'only' 240 kW.

More important than the maximum value, of course, is the average charging power. According to Li Auto, this should be in excess of 400 kW in the 10-80% charge range. Charging time was just 10 minutes and 36 seconds (10-80%) during a test by the manufacturer, reports CarNewsChina.

The speed at which electricity can be recharged for a given range is even more important than the charging time. Electricity consumption is taken into account, but in the case of the Li Mega, it is the consumption according to the Chinese CLTC standard 3.9 mi/kWh (15.9 kWh/100 km). It should therefore be possible to recharge in 12 minutes the electricity needed to cover a further 311 miles. The prerequisite is of course a corresponding charging point, such as Li Auto's 5C charging points. The company aims to install more than 5,000 of these in China.

The powertrain data is not so sensational as the all-wheel drive system consists of a 211 PS asynchronous motor at the front and a 333 PS permanent magnet synchronous motor at the rear. The result is a system output of 544 PS and total torque of 542 Nm. This means it takes 5.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph. 

As for the rest, the MPV is all about luxury. Air suspension and electrically adjustable seats in all three rows ensure comfort, plus there's a 17-inch screen and even a fridge. Numerous sensors enable semi-autonomous driving, including lidar and no fewer than eleven cameras. The infotainment system features MindGPT artificial intelligence. The price: 559,800 yuan, or around £61,000.

With the Mega, Li Auto is showing that charging times for electric cars can be close to those of a combustion vehicle. With the right infrastructure, a range of 311 miles could be sufficient.