Lynk & Co, a brand jointly owned by China’s Geely and Volvo Car, launched the 08, its long-anticipated plug-in hybrid crossover on Sept. 8. The automaker says the car has a starting price of RMB 208,800 ($28,815) and is powered by an in-house designed seven-nanometer (nm) chip, claimed by the company to be China’s first.

The compact sports utility vehicle is the first model under Lynk & Co which is exclusively plug-in hybrid. This marks a significant shift for Geely and Volvo as they make a determined move away from the internal combustion engine.

Having grappled with slowing growth in an increasingly competitive market, Lynk & Co expects the mid-sized 08 to be a high-volume model in the mainstream luxury SUV segment, competing against rival offerings including BYD’s Tang, Li Auto’s L7, and the Aito M5.

Why it matters: The Lynk & Co 08 is equipped with two SE1000 automotive chips, which is the first high-performance seven-nanometer semiconductor for cars designed by a Chinese company. The car can perform over 16 trillion operations per second (TOPS), Geely said in a statement. This is twice the number of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SA8155P, the US tech giant’s flagship automotive cockpit platform. 

  • It is also the first model to use Flyme Auto, an operating system jointly developed by Chinese smartphone maker Meizu and Ecarx, an auto tech startup backed by Geely’s chairman Eric Li. This offers an infotainment system that seamlessly connects users’ smartphone apps to the vehicle’s navigation screen.

Details: The Lynk & Co 08 uses a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine along with a large 39.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack, providing a maximum driving range of 205 kilometers (127 miles) in all-electric mode and 1,400 km on a full tank plus full charge. Delivery is scheduled the begin later this month. 

  • It uses little energy on short trips and ensures cost-competitive travel for daily commutes. By comparison, BYD’s Tang hybrid seven-seater and the Li Auto L7 extended-range hybrid run for up to 189 and 170 km, respectively. 
  • The SUV boasts fuel consumption of 5.5 liters per 100 km, comparable to the 5.3L/100km of the BYD Tang DM-i, one of China’s best-selling hybrid models, and surpassing the Li Auto L7’s 7.6L/100 km. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds.
  • The five-seater compact offers passengers a relatively large interior space measuring 4.8 meters in length and spanning a 2,915-millimeter-long wheelbase, close to the bigger but more expensive Nio ES6 and Li Auto L7, which are priced from RMB 338,000 and RMB 319,800, respectively.
  • Priced between RMB 208,800 and RMB 288,000, the SUV is packed with advanced technology and luxurious design features, such as a 92-inch, augmented reality-based display, the largest of its kind in the industry, as well as a Harman Kardon audio system and frameless doors. 

Context: Lynk & Co reported a modest 6% year-on-year growth in sales for the first half of this year, while its peer Zeekr, a premium electric vehicle brand launched by Geely in early 2021, posted a remarkable 124% annual growth over the same period. Seven-year-old Lynk & Co, which formerly focused on China’s gas-powered vehicle segment, sold 180,127 vehicles last year, representing an 18.3% decline from a year ago.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen