There are a lot of Chinese-financed, US-based electric vehicle companies that we have covered such as Atieva, Faraday Future, and NEXTEV. But we are also starting to see China-based EV companies, like BYD and now CH-Auto Technology, which is branded under Qiantu Motors, trying to enter the US market.
We learned today that Qiantu confirmed that it plans to bring its K50 electric 2-seater sports car, which we highlighted after its unveil a few months ago.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Lu Qun, Qiantu Chairman, explained how after producing a “few dozen” K50s for testing and analysis, which has been confirmed to begin next month, that they [Qiantu] plan to ramp up production to the low thousands for debut in the U.S. market. A timeframe for when exactly it will be brought to the United States was not explicitly said, but we can infer that it won’t be long seeing as they expect to be in the low thousands of production by the second half of 2017 as stated in the interview.
To reiterate, some of the key specifications of the car are that it is a two-door roadster with an all carbon-fiber body, 0-100 km/h (0-62 mp/h) in 4.6 seconds, two electric motors for a combined 402 bhp and 479 lb ft of torque (650 Nm) and an estimated range of 300 km (~186 miles). Although, still no specifics about the exact battery size.
As exciting as it is to hear that more electric car options will come to the U.S., that wasn’t the only exhilarating news to come out of the Q&A with Mr. Qun. With their high volume car factory, Qiantu plans to bring as many as six new models over the span of five years. One of those models is expected to be a mass-market offering, a long-range relatively affordable all-electric car, like the Tesla Model 3, in order to appeal to the local Chinese market.
According to Zhang Yu, managing director of the Automotive Foresight consulting firm, Qiantu will have to appease Chinese tastes in order to be successful at home:
“It is difficult for a Chinese home-grown company to position itself as a premium brand as consumers are not willing to pay too much for a Chinese brand. If Qiantu wants to draw the market’s interest, the price of the car must be very competitive and a lot lower than a Tesla. In China, the price of a Tesla Model S starts from 657,000 yuan.”
Qiantu will still aim to brand itself as a luxury car company overall, but it will take some tweaking and marketing adjustments in order for the Chinese to perceive it as such.
Finally, Lu states that the expected launch time for the entry-level, mass-market vehicle will come around a year after the K50 makes its debut.