Electric Car Startups Backed by Chinese Firms – Part 1

It is the booming age for electric car startups. Interestingly, many such companies have a strong tie with Chinese firms. In this article, we will look at Karma Automotive, Faraday Future and NextEV (Nio).

Karma Automotive

Karma Automotive is a subsidiary of Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang. Wanxiang acquired the bankrupted Fisker Automotive in 2014 and renamed it as Karma Automotive earlier this year.

The headquarters of Karma Automotive are located in Costa Mesa of California, which they ended up buying in April for $56.25million. The company’s factory is located in Moreno Valley of California. Besides, Karma’s controlling company Wanxiang is interested in building a new auto plant in Hanzhou, China. The factory will be able to produce 50 thousand Karma vehicles annually.

Karma Automotive launched its first luxury car Revero on September 8th. The MSRP starts at $130,000. Potential customers can go to Karma dealership to order. Revero is based on the previous Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, but now uses technologies from BMW. The company plans to build 3,000 units per year. Another model Atlantic, a low-cost 2-door electric car, is in the pipeline.

Faraday Future

Faraday Future was founded in 2014 and the headquarters is in Gardena, California. The company is reportedly backed by Chinese LeEco’s boss Yueting Jia.

Faraday Future released an eye-catching concept electric supercar FFZero1 during CES 2016, featuring a versatile Variable Platform Architecture (VPA). This is pretty much what we know about its product so far. There either is a target time to launch any product.

On the other hand, the company is expanding very rapidly. According to its website, there are over 1,400 people globally already. Faraday Future has attracted top talents in the industry, e.g. an automation expert from Apple.  However, recently some top executives left the company.

Facility-wise, a $1billion 900-acre factory is under construction in North Las Vegas, and another 157-acre formal naval shipyard near Silicon Valley is in negotiation. Recently, Faraday Future downsized the Las Vegas plant to 650,000 square feet. It will be completed by end of August this year. Moreover, Faraday Future will work together with LeEco on the latter’s planned $1.8billion EV factory in China, manufacturing 400,000 cars annually.

Faraday Future launched FF91 model in January this year. The cost would be “less than $300,000”. There were over 64,000 reservations within 36 hours of its debut. The delivery is expected to start in 2018.

Faraday Future has been granted to test self-driving cars on the road in California. It is also running a Formula E racing team – Faraday Future Dragon Racing.

NextEV (NIO in the US)

This less-than-2-year old company has already launch two electric cars.

The first one is a supercar named NIO EP9 with massive 1 megawatt of power (or 1,360 horsepower). The car was caught at the Nuerburgring, filming commercial footage. The supercar will cost $1.48million and Next EV plans to build only 10 of them. It will be available in China and US.

The second on is a 7-seater electric SUV – NIO ES8. The car will be capable of swapping the battery. Sales will be stated in 2018.

The China-based startup has offices all around the world including London, Munich and Silicon Valley. Top industrial executives like former Ford Europe boss Martin Leach and former Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior have been involved with NextEV. Leach visions NextEV to be automaker version 3.0, a level up from Tesla’s version 2.0 over-the-air connectivity.

According to NextEV website, the company plans to build a half-billion motor plant in Nanjing China. It also has formed strategic partnership with Chinese carmaker JAC which will potentially be worth nearly $1.5 billion. There is a joint venture with China Changan Automobile.

NextEV joined Formula E race in its inaugural season and its racer Nelson Piquet Jr. won the championship in 2014/2015 season.

Weekly Electromobility News

EV Charging Network in Europe Getting Boosted; NextEV Will Build Six of Its $1.2 Million NIO EP9 Electric Supercar; Maserati Alfieri Electric Will Start Production by 2020

 

EV Charging Network in Europe Getting Boosted

According to Reuters, six carmakers, including VW, Audi, Porche, BMW, Daimler and Ford Europe, have signed a memorandum of understanding to fund the installation of thousands of ultra-fast charging stations by 2020, as part of the effort to increase EV sales.

The charging stations will be using CCS (combined changing system) protocol, which is currently adopted by most of EV models from European and US carmakers. The ultra-fast charging network under the agreement will be capable of outputting 350 kW, much higher than the state-of-the-art 50 kW.

NextEV Will Build Six of Its $1.2 Million NIO EP9 Electric Supercar

According to Fortune, the EV startup NextEV unveiled its first model NIO EP9 electric supercar recently in London. The car took on “the Green Hell” track of Nuerburg-Ring and finished it in 7 minutes and 5.12 seconds, slashing the previous track record by nearly 17 seconds. This result may help justify the supercar’s $1.2 million price tag. And there will be only six of them.

NextEV will introduce a volume production model in China next year.

Maserati Alfieri Electric Will Start Production by 2020

According to Motoring, Maserati confirmed it would build the electric version of its Alfieri by 2020. This detail follows the initial comment by Maserati’s engineering head Roberto Fedeli about 2 month ago. Fedeli mentioned that the tasks would be to give the EV the Maserati identity and to make the car fun to drive.

The electric Alfieri is planned to roll out one year after the twin-turbo V6 version. Maserati has plans to build the electric models of its Levante SUV, Ghibli and Quattroporte, as well.

Weekly Electromobility News

Anticipated EV Startups Released First Photos of Their Cars; Top-speed Corvette C7 Electric Starts Pre-order at $750,000; $10,000 Electric Car Project is Seeking Crowdfunding

 

Anticipated EV Startups Released First Photos of Their Cars

EV startups Atieva and NextEV have received a lot of attention for their big plans and large investment, but are largely running in stealth mode. Now, first photos of their cars in the making are seen online.

A side view of Atieva’s first car is available on Recode. The car is named Atvus and is a 4-door sedan. The company has been testing the powertrain with a van dubbed Edna. The van can do 2.74 seconds for 0-60 mph.

NextEV is building a supercar. Its photo is available on Motor Authority. The horsepower is over 1000 and the car is capable of 0-60 mph acceleration under 3 seconds as well. Motor Authority reported that the car was developed in Germany and has been tested in the UK. The debut would be on Nov 21 in London.

NextEV 1000-HP supercar reminds one of another popular EV startup Faraday Future, which showed its 1000-HP concept supercar FFZero1 during CES 2016.

Top-speed Corvette C7 Electric Starts Pre-order at $750,000

According to Autoblog, the Maryland-based Genovation Cars plans to build 75 GXE electric cars, based on the C7 Corvette Grand Sport. The company has built GXE based on another Corvette model C6 Z06. This car owns the title of the “fastest street-legal electric vehicle”, reaching 205.6 mph.

The new GXE will possess 660 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. It has “50/50 weight distribution” and 130 miles of electro-range. The interior will be unique for each individual car.

The reservation fee is $250,000 and the delivery will start at the end of 2019.

$10,000 Electric Car Project is Seeking Crowdfunding

According to Fortune, Storm Sondors is seeking $1million crowdfund to build a $10,000 three-wheeler electric car. Dubbed Model Sondors, the car will be good for 3 occupants. There will be three electro-ranges, i.e. 50, 100 and 200 miles. An all-wheel drive system will also be available. A prototype will be introduced in one year from the closing.

As of Oct. 15, nearly half a million has been raised. The offering is $12 per share with the minimum amount of 10 shares.

Sondors had his first crowdfunding succeed in his fat tire E-bike project where he raised $6million instead of the initial $75,000 target. Now he is the largest distributor of E-bikes in the US.

Weekly Electromobility News

NHTSA Opens Evaluation into Autopilot Performance in a Fatal Tesla Model S Crash; VW Likely To Build One of the First Battery Plants in China; NextEV Set to Unveil Its Electric Supercar This Year

NHTSA Opens Evaluation into Autopilot Performance in a Fatal Tesla Model S Crash

According to Tesla Blog, NHTSA is looking into the Autopilot performance in a fatal Model S crash in Florida on May 7, 2016. The regulators are determining if “the system worked according to expectations”.

With Autopilot on, the Model S crashed into a tractor trailer which was making a left turn. The car drove under the trailer and the roof was sheared off. The crash killed the driver and only occupant Joshua Brown of the Model S.

VW Likely To Build One of the First Battery Plants in China

According to Automotive News Europe, a person familiar with VW management said “China is likely one of the first” that VW is building a battery plant in.

VW unveiled 2025 group strategy 2 weeks ago, with an emphasis on vehicle electrification. 150 GWh of batteries are projected to be needed, which is a huge procurement challenge for the carmaker. The source indicated that VW was planning roughly 10 plants with a total investment of 20 billion euros.

 

NextEV Set to Unveil Its Electric Supercar This Year

According to Autocar, the debut of NextEV’s first electric supercar will be “somewhere in Europe” this year, a comment made by the startup’s president Martin Leach, former president of Ford Europe.

The supercar is in advanced development and has managed to produce more than 1 MW, or 1341 HP. It is targeting the performance comparable to McLaren P1 and LaFerrari. The price tag will be around 1 million euros.

NextEV currently sponsors a Formula E team.