National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the China-backed firm that bought SAAB’s assets out of bankruptcy in 2012, has been trying to position itself has a major player in the electric vehicle industry.

The company is one step closer now that it received today an electric vehicle production license for its 200,000 units per year car factory in Tianjin, China.

NEVS is the first joint venture company with investors from outside China, though the company obviously has strong ties in the country, that is granted a New Energy Passenger Vehicle Project investment approval.

The Chinese National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) is requiring approval for new investments in car production in the country, but the government is trying to make it easier for foreign carmakers to invest especially in electric car production.

NEVS says that the plant in Tianjin is still under construction, but it should be “up and running at the end of 2017, with the capacity of 200 000 electric passenger vehicles yearly.”

The company already has an important order that will enable them to secure demand for the first 3 years. Panda New Energy, a new energy vehicle leasing company in China, ordered 150 000 9-3 Sedan electric vehicles in 2015. The deal could be worth as much as $12 billion according to the company.

It will be delivered over the next 3 years so NEVS already sold over 25% of its annual capacity for that period.

The former SAAB is finding an important market in China with large fleet orders for electric vehicles. NEVS also signed a framework deal worth about 8.5 billion crowns ($1 billion) with China Volant Industry Co. (Volinco) for 20,000 electric cars last year.

If NEVS delivers on its plans (see infographic below), the company could become a major player in the EV industry within the next few years. Let’s see.

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