M Hero's M Tech architecture boasts a power platform with over 1,000 horsepower, allowing the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.2 seconds.

(Image credit: Dongfeng Motor)

Dongfeng Motor has unveiled its premium electric off-road brand, becoming the first Chinese car company to enter the segment.

Dongfeng officially unveiled the brand, called M Hero, and its two concept vehicles, M-Terrain and M-Terrain S, at a launch event on August 27 in Wuhan, Hubei province, where it is headquartered.

The M in the name M Hero is the initial of its Chinese brand name in pinyin (Mengshi) and also has more meaning, the automaker said.

The M stands for the brand's military vehicle DNA, as well as Man, Marvelous and Mission, according to a press release.

The H in the name stands for High-tech, E for Electrical, R for Reform and O for Off-road, the company said.

Dongfeng created a hard-core logo for the M Hero that looks like the letter M, saying it was inspired by the helmet armor of ancient warriors.

Dongfeng said M Hero will have a new business model and operational processes that will respond quickly to market demand.

Dongfeng will support the development of the brand with the entire group, and the first product will enter the market from 2023, it said.

The automaker unveiled the brand's two concept vehicles, M-Terrain and M-Terrain S, both based on the M Tech intelligent off-road architecture, at the launch event.

The architecture is China's first integrated technology solution for luxury electric off-roading, Dongfeng said, adding that it comprises three hard-core technology clusters:

The skateboard off-road platform MORA, which is China's first electric off-road skateboard platform.

The MEGA-POWER, which uses a four-motor front and rear drive, is China's first power platform with more than 1,000 horsepower. It features the world's first two-speed transmission with integrated differential lock, wheel-side torque of over 16,000Nm, and accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds.

M-ATS, an all-terrain intelligent solution, can intelligently select the most ideal off-road mode according to different environments and can realize "Crab Walk Mode".

M-Terrain is also equipped with an intelligent drone system, intelligent security system, and L3 driving assistance system, according to Dongfeng.

It is worth noting that Dongfeng has been preparing for the launch of the brand for at least a year.

In September 2021, Dongfeng chairman Zhu Yanfeng said at a new energy vehicle conference that the company would launch the M brand in 2022.

On January 18, construction of the brand's factory began, with production scheduled for 2023.

On July 28, Dongfeng said the off-road brand will have a proprietary industrial park with a planned capacity of 100,000 units, with production scheduled for 2023, Dongfeng said.

The 485-mu (323,300-square-meter) campus, with a total floor area of 96,000 square meters, will include a manufacturing center, an off-road base, headquarters offices and a commercial display center.

The park will have supporting facilities such as a welding shop, paint shop, final assembly shop, test center and experience center, off-road experience track and test track.

Dongfeng is not the only car company that has plans to launch an electric off-road model. also plans to launch a high-end brand this year, and the first vehicle will be a hardcore off-road vehicle.

On August 25, Yicai reported that a BYD executive had previously said that the company's new premium brand would have a price range of RMB 800,000 to RMB 1.5 million. However, BYD has raised that starting price to more than RMB 1 million ($146,000).

BYD later confirmed it will launch a new premium brand with the first model starting at more than RMB 1 million.

"The premium brand is tentatively scheduled to be launched at the end of this year, when the first hardcore off-road model will be unveiled, priced at more than RMB 1 million," the China Securities Journal quoted BYD sources as saying on August 25.

BYD confirms plans to launch premium brand by year-end, first model priced at over RMB 1 million