SF Motors, the electric vehicle startup launched by China’s Sokon, has been making a lot of moves over the last year, like acquiring AM General’s South Bend, Indiana assembly plant, where they used to produce the commercial Hummer, and buying the electric powertrain startup founded by Martin Eberhard, Tesla co-founder.
Now the company has unveiled the electric vehicles that they plan to produce.
Last year, we published an exclusive report on Eberhard’s comeback in the EV space with a new startup, which designed a new battery pack architecture for electric vehicles.
It looked like they were aiming to become a battery/electric vehicle powertrain supplier, but they seem to have now shifted to providing the battery architecture for a series of premium vehicles to be released by SF Motors.
The company says that they still plan to provide powertrains to other companies, but they will first end up in SF Motors’ first vehicles: the SF5 and the SF7.
The two SUVs are equipped with “a flexible motor system allowing vehicle design using one, two, three, or four motor configurations.
At the top end, the powerful four-motor system will deliver over 1000HP, meaning vehicles can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds. The company’s motors, motor controllers, and gearboxes are key to this, with peak power ranging from 100KW to 400KW.”
As for the battery pack, SF Motors says that it will enable a range of “more than 300 miles (EPA) or 500 km (NEDC).”
On top of the electric powertrain technology, SF Motors is working on some autonomous driving technology, which they are marketing as “protective autonomy” and make it sound like level 3 autonomous driving.
They describe the system:
These systems use deep neural network-based computer vision, combined with the accuracy of LiDAR sensor perception, to power a driver and vehicle monitoring system that creates a safer ride for all. With these developments, SF Motors is quickly establishing its position as a leader in the field of intelligent EVs.
The company is currently road-testing its technology in California, Michigan, and China with the goal of bringing “protective autonomy” to the market in 2020.
SF Motors Founder and CEO John Zhang commented on the launch:
Our mission is to transform human mobility—and perhaps our planet—through intelligent EVs. To do this, we can’t follow the same path as every other EV company. We aim to be the company that shares integrated technology solutions and provides the manufacturing expertise to make more EVs a reality. We believe everyone wins with the wider adoption of EV technology.
What’s most exciting about SF Motors is that they have been working on manufacturing before ever unveiling the vehicles – giving more weight to their plans to bring the vehicles to production.
They are presenting themselves as an international company with the factory in Indiana, as previously reported, and another plant in China:
SF Motors Chief Production Officer, Jim Finn, commented on the manufacturing plans:
We consider our U.S. plant in Indiana and our China facility in Chongqing to be among the most automated plants in the world, with partners that are the world’s foremost leaders in manufacturing and a newly trained U.S. team that will operate one of the most innovative and technically advanced EV plants in the US. And to meet our goal of becoming a true pioneer in this sector, we are intelligently configuring all our facilities to support our sustainability efforts. It all comes together to help achieve our vision of getting high-quality intelligent EVs in the hands of more people worldwide.
The company didn’t announce plans for the SF7, but said that the SF5 will be available for pre-order by the end of 2018 and will hit the road in 2019.
No pricing information has been released yet – more is expected at the end of 2018.
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