The stars seemed aligned for Proton to introduce the X90 as a mild hybrid vehicle.
Geely's 7-seater SUV, the Haoyue has been spotted a fair few times now in Malaysia (some have already dubbed it the Proton X90), leading us to believe that it will be the next Proton to be launched.
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A particular easter egg by Proton during the launch video of their Gallery of Inspiration has got us believing that the 7-seater SUV might just be the first Proton to be equipped with a mild-hybrid system, and here's why.
Proton recently virtually launched their new brand gallery at their Center of Excellence complex in Subang Jaya, Selangor. Part of the launch video included the introduction of a gallery showcasing the history of Proton as well as a section where Proton displays their current and future technologies.
In one of their "Our Technology" displays, Proton placed three powertrains surrounded by tablets equipped with AR features that can rotate 360 degrees around the engine, showing the engine's specifications.
The powertrains featured are engines of the X70 and X50 models - 1.8L TGDi and 1.5L TGDi, and a peculiar 1.5L TGDi engine with BSG (Belt Starter Generator). Putting two and two together, we believe that this is Proton's statement that it will release a hybrid vehicle soon, probably via the X90.
The reason we believe the X90 will come with a Mild Hybrid system is not that far fetched either, as the Geely Okavango (Geely Haoyue in the Philippines) is already using a similar setup. The Okavango is powered by a 1.5L TGDi engine with BSG, producing 190 PS and 300 Nm of torque.
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It also makes sense for the Proton X90 to have this extra oomph, as the X90 SUV is a large vehicle and offers up a serious amount of interior/cargo space that can fit up to seven people or a king-size bed. With the seats folded flat, Geely claims the rear horizontal interior space extends to 2.2 metres, equivalent to a king-size bed.
BSG is one of the components that helps generate power for a Mild Hybrid vehicle. The motor-generator unit works with a 48-volt battery pack to help give the vehicle a seamless start/stop function, a short duration of added torque, and better fuel efficiency.
Should a hypothetical Proton X90 with BSG materialise, it would surely put some real fear in the hearts of rivals such as the Mitsubishi Outlander, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Mazda CX-9. Prices for the Haoyue start at just 103,600 yuan in China, which is about RM63,000.
That's an unbeatable - even impossible - price point should it ever appear with a Proton badge. There's still no doubting that an X90 would probably still be the least expensive 7-seater on sale here, but one that could still be stuffed to the gills with cutting edge tech, safety features, premium amenities, and a modern electrified engine, albeit even if it is a simple one.