With metallic paint the only cost option on the First Edition Funky Cat you’re certainly not left wanting for gadgets and gizmos, which helps offset that burlier than expected bottom-line price. For a breakthrough brand ORA is going all in with the kind of connected, app-supported ownership experience modern EV buyers expect and the Funky Cat clearly aims to operate like an extension of your smartphone. Well, so long as you don’t want to run CarPlay that is, this promised with an over-the-air update next year.
While there are a four tactile toggle switches to shortcut to heating and demisting controls most of the rest of your interaction comes through the pair of 10.25-inch screens, one for infotainment in the middle of the dash and the other your instruments behind the wheel. Pretty standard in this day and age, and the general slickness is evidence of how seriously Chinese brands – and their customers – take their tech. A pity the interactions are so fiddly, though, with tiny icons to hit with wandering fingers and a complex menu system that makes VW’s much-criticised ID family infotainment seem a bastion of UX integrity.
And while the full suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) helps ORA nail the five-star NCAP score it needs to look credible to European buyers their operation leaves much to be desired. Especially annoying was the ‘Emergency Steering Function’, the tweaks to the wheel from its constant ‘false positives’ irritating to the point of distraction. Which rather misses the point.
Those comfortable with facial recognition tech on their phones will probably be less squeamish about the same in their car, though driving round with a camera in your face scrutinising your every change of expression and nagging you to pull over if you so much as yawn at the wheel would have us breaking out the electrical tape to cover it over within the first few hours of ownership.