's Ballet Cat has stirred up controversy because of its similarity to the classic Volkswagen Beetle.

(Image credit: Ora)

Ora, Great Wall Motor's electric vehicle (EV) brand, has launched its new Ballet Cat model designed to appeal to female customers in China, but its resemblance to Volkswagen's classic Beetle has sparked controversy.

Ora officially made the model available on Tuesday, offering a choice of four versions with subsidized starting prices of RMB 193,000 ($28,700), 203,000, 213,000 and 223,000 respectively.

The length, width and height of the Ola Ballet Cat are 4,401 mm, 1,867 mm and 1,633 mm respectively, with a wheelbase of 2,750 mm.

Its most obvious feature is that it looks like a copy of Volkswagen's classic Beetle model, which, despite appealing to some people's preferences, has also ushered in a lot of skepticism on social media at a time when the Chinese generally place more importance on originality.

The car has a 126-kW electric motor with a lithium iron phosphate battery and is available in 401 km and 500 km range versions.

Ora claims that the Ballet Cat is "the more female-friendly car in 136 years," suggesting that it is the most female-friendly car ever built in the automotive industry.

In 1886, Germany's Karl Benz marked the birth of the automobile industry by building the world's first gasoline-powered three-wheeled car.

The Ora Ballet Cat offers a so-called "Goddess Mode," which enhances driving comfort by making the steering wheel softer, the accelerator pedal more gentle in sensitivity and the energy recovery smoother, it said.

It also has a "Child Mode" that automatically plays children's songs and monitors the safety of children in the back in real time, it said.

In addition to the controversy over its appearance, much of the discussion on Chinese social media has suggested that the Ora Ballet Cat is overpriced, especially when compared to the Smart #1 SUV, which is being built by and Mercedes-Benz.

Launched in China on April 25, the Smart #1 is the first production model launched after the electrification transformation of the Smart brand, with a pre-sale price range of RMB 190,000 - 230,000 after subsidies.

It was designed by Mercedes-Benz, with the Smart R&D team leading the engineering development, and is based on Geely's SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) architecture.

The Smart #1 is powered by a rear electric motor with 200 kW of maximum power and 343 Nm of peak torque, and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds.

It is equipped with a 66-kWh lithium-ion battery and has a maximum CLTC range of 560 km.

The Smart #1 received more than 10,000 orders after 24 hours of open bookings, Smart China announced on April 27.

Smart #1 launched in China, gets over 10,000 pre-orders in 24 hours