Introducing Chinese electric car brands – GAC Motors

Introducing Chinese electric car brands – GAC Motors

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The relatively young GAC Motors is one of China’s best-respected vehicle brands. The company has a defined EV strategy and will add three models to its EV fleet in 2017.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Topped the “2016 BEST CHINESE CAR BRAND” Customer satisfaction survey.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co, Ltd. founded in 2005 has various Joint Ventures with large international auto manufacturers such as Toyota, Hino, and Honda. Wanxiang Group, a large auto-parts manufacturer, and owner of Karma Automotive, previously known as Fisker Automotive, is one of the founding shareholders.

GAC MOTOR established its New Energy division at the end of 2015. The division focused on developing its R&D and production to penetrate the growing Chinese market for EV’s. The New Energy strategy is supported by GAC Group’s “1513” new-energy development strategy which makes the development of an R & D platform, R & D of core technologies a key development direction for its products.

GAC has international ambitions and aims to establish sales and service networks in 14 countries, including North America, Africa, South and Eastern Europe and South East Asia. GAC has reaped the rewards of creating a world-class vehicle brand and sold more than 380,000 vehicles in 2016, compared to around 194,000 the previous year, and has achieved 80 percent compound annual growth rate from 2011 to 2016. The company expects to sell 500,000 cars in 2017 and plans to produce 1 million cars in 2020. The Group targets 200,000 new energy vehicles in 2020 and meeting fuel consumption targets of 5.0L/100Km over its model range. In 2016 GAC Trumpchi delivered a total of 3,378 units of its GA5 PHEV model, an increase of 167% on 2015.

To support its strategy, Guangzhou Automobile Group passed two resolutions impacting EV development at its Board of Directors meeting on June 5th, 2017.

  1. It was resolved that a new company would be established for the Groups New Energy Vehicle (NEV) program. The company would be named GAC New Energy Automotive Co. Ltd. and would be capitalized to the tune of RMB 300m.
  2. It was further resolved to increase the GAC Motor’s capital with RMB 2.26b to expand its annual EV capacity of 200,000 units by 2020. GAC Motor is launching nine new Trumpchi models, of which three is NEV models, namely the GE3 BEV crossover, GS4 PHEV and GA6 PHEV.

GAC Motors are also pursuing other electric mobility solutions. In February 2016, Guangzhou Lixin Taxi Company owned by GAC Access launched more than 200 Levin twin-engine HEVs into Guangzhou taxi market. Also, GAC Group fully mobilizes the creativity of various business sectors and is actively devoted to new energy and energy conservation and environmental protection. GAC Motors and BYD established a JV in 2015 to co-operate in EV development. As a result, the company launched 400 pure electric buses produced by GAC BYD New Energy Bus Co., Ltd. into Guangzhou public transport system to provide services for citizens. The JV company is 51% owned by GAC and has a registered capital of 300m RMB.

Click through to the GAC Motors page on wattEV2Buy to explore the past, present and future EV models by the Chinese automaker.

Stay tuned to wattEV2buy and follow the rest of our weekly series on Chinese EV brands.

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China has only 14 legal EV brands, most as ugly as…

China has only 14 legal EV brands, most as ugly as…

wattev2buy electric car myths debunked

wattev2buy electric car selection tools

wattev2buy electric car mobile app

wattev2buy china electric car

In June 2016 the Chinese authorities embarked on a program to regulate the industry that saw over 200 companies planning to produce over 50 million cars a year. Initially, the Chinese Government announced that it would only provide ten manufacturers with permits to produce electric vehicles in a bid to ensure quality and reliability to the consumer. A year later, at the end of May 2017, 14 new energy vehicle manufacturers were awarded production certificates to develop electric vehicles, with no indication what the new limit on participants is. China leads the world in terms of the size of the electric vehicle market; one would expect that it would lead to the creation of great looking automobiles, the opposite has been the norm.

China’s electric car sector is known for its ugly models, most are either bad clones of other brands, such as the Tesla Model S clone the Youxia Ranger X, or old body types of Japanese or European models with a battery thrown in, such as the 2012 Suzuki SX4 rebadged as the 2017 SD EV Yinse. Currently, most Chinese vehicle manufacturers are bringing mid-to-low end models to production, competing with Western models such as the Tesla Model 3Chevrolet Bolt, Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf. A couple of Chinese manufacturers are following the Tesla model of starting with a luxury sedan or sports car and will, therefore, compete with the likes of the Rimac Concept One, Tesla Modle S or Porsche Mission-E.

Many Chinese automakers have addressed design challenges by opening design centers in Europe, mostly in Italy, world-renowned for design, especially automotive design. Some Chinese automakers own established Western brands such as Geely owning Volvo, SAIC Roewe buying MG, NEVS buying SAAB and Wanxiang buying Karma Automotive. One might, therefore, be forgiven to expect that world-class design principles would find its way into Chinese electric vehicle production. Unfortunately, the fusion between Western and Chinese design has yet to deliver eye-catching electric vehicles.

Authorized EV brands in China

With the greater oversight, one would have hoped to be wowed with only the best electric vehicles rising to the top and receiving the coveted production permits. Let’s look at the current Chinese automakers that have been granted production certificates and see what the Chinese consumer and the rest of the world can expect.

BAIC BJEV

The Chinese Government owned BAIC is one of the top-selling EV brands in China and is now into its second generation EV design with the BAIC E200, BAIC EC180, and BAIC EU260. BAIC has also created a stand-alone company for electric vehicles, BJEV and is expected to bring a new brand to light, called Arcfox. Unfortunately, BAIC’s design still looks very much like copies of other brands, take for instance the BAIC EU260 which looks very much like an older Mercedes C-Series.

BAIC-EU260-ev

Changjiang EV

Changjiang EV produces the eCool EV, also know as the FDG Yangtze EV. The company classifies the eCool as a mini-SIV, but in all honesty, it looks more like a hatchback. The eCool comes with 10-inch multi-touch HD screen providing an onboard interconnected experience and a mobile terminal. The vehicle achieved a 4-star C-NCAP measured at 50km/h impact. The hatchback comes in various funky colors, and customers can personalize their dash and seat covers, not that is does anything for the general look of the EV.

changjiang-Yangtze-EV

Qiantu Motor

CH-Auto Technology founded in 2010, the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer branded as Qiantu Qiche (前途汽车), meaning Future Auto in 2015. Qiantu aims to compete head-on with Tesla and unveiled the Qiantu K50 Event! as the first model in its arsenal to do so ( for all the language buffs, the ! is not a typo but part of the name). The K50 Event! is one of the more appealing Chinese EVs.

qiantu-k50-event

Chery New Energy

Chery Auto was honored with “Best Globalization Strategy for the year 2015” among Chinese Vehicle manufacturers. Chery is a leader in the EV sector with one of the first production cars as far back as 2008.The Chery QQ, first produced in 2015, remains one of the top 10 models in China. The QQ might be popular, but it is certainly not for its looks.

chery-eq1-ev 2018

Jiangsu Minan

The company was founded in 2011 and opened the Jiangsu MIN’AN Automotive Research Institute in October 2015 where it develops its new energy vehicles. Min’an Auto is set to unveil its first EV in 2018. Min’an has the intent to develop three models in 2018, an SUV, rendered below, a sports car and a neighborhood electric (NEV) delivery van. Min’an suffers from the same classification issues as Changjiang EV, trying to sell a hatchback as an SUV.

minan-sportscar-ev

Wanxiang Group (Karma Automotive)

Owned by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group, who bought the remnants of Fisker Automotive in 2013. The company aims to manufacturer 900 Karma Revero’s in 2017. Waxiang Group was one of the first automakers to receive a production certificate allowing it to produce electric vehicles in 2016. The Karma Revero teaser below was released late 2016 and does not look a lot different than the Fisker Karma of 2012.

karma-revero

 

JMC EV

JMC created a new company to house its electric vehicle unit under in early 2015. The plant situated in Nanchang City has a planned production capacity of 70,000 units per year by 2020. JMC EV is planning to follow up on its first electric vehicle the E100 EV with four new models, the E200, E160, S330 SUV PHEV and E170. Th JMC E100 is one of the top 20 sellers in China. Both the E100 and E200 looks quite similar and follows the same boring lines as most of the small electric vehicles such as the Chery QQ and BAIC EC180.

JMC-S330-PHEV

Chongqing Jinkang

The Sokon owned company received its production certificate early 2017 which allows the company to produce 50,000 EVs annually. The company has not unveiled any vehicles but have secured Tesla Co-founder, Martin Eberhard, as a consultant and acquired US-based AC Propulsion at the end of 2016. Sokon developed small commercial vehicles in partnership with Dongfeng.

sokon-ec35-ldv-bev

NEVS

National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS), a Chinese-owned company, acquired the SAAB brand from bankruptcy in 2012. The company received a production permit for 200,000 units annually. The company has already signed an agreement to supply 20,000 SAAB 9-3 to Chinese Aerospace entity, Volinco. Disappointingly it seems that consumers will have to be content with getting another relic from the past as an option when it comes to buying a new EV in China.

nevs 9-3 ev concept

Yudo Auto

Yudo Auto electric vehicles strategy is to produce affordable pure electric SUVs and aims to be a first-class brand in 5 years and international presence in 10 years. Yudo chose the words “creating for change” as its tagline and opened a Design Center in Milan, Italy. The company unveiled two small SUVs at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017 as part of its Gemini strategy. The Yudo Pi1 base model looks like a bad knockoff of the VW Tiguan, and the flagship Yudo Pi3 reminds of a Landrover Freelander of the 90’s. Let’s hope there is more “creating for change” down the line.

yudo-pi-1-ev

Know Beans / Zhi Dou

Know Beans (Zhi Dou), a Geely company, and yes that’s the brand’s name, develops the popular ZD D2 mini-car which is also sold under the Zotye label as the Zotye E20. The D2, produced since 205, is also a top 20 electric vehicle in China. You just know, when you look at the D2, that it hails from China. I don’t know what is worse, the brand name or the vehicle, enough said.

zhidou d3 ev

SD EV

Henan Suda EV, also know as SD EV received permission to develop a 100,000 EV plant. SD EV offers one of this ‘Back to the Future’ opportunities, where you can buy a vehicle from 2012 as a brand new model in 2017. SD EV has two EV models ready for production. The vehicles are based on Suzuki SX4 sedan and hatch. The word Suda means to ‘Speed Up’ in Chinese while the Henan refers to the company’s home province.

suda-hatch-ev

Hozon Auto

Hozon received an electric vehicle production certificate allowing it to produce 50,000 units per annum. Hozon unveiled its first concept vehicle, a compact crossover named @, at the 3rd World Internet Conference in November 2016. The Hozon logo looks surprisingly similar than that of Mercedes, and the rendering of the marketing material looks like that of an old generation Buick Lacrosse, while the @ like a Tesla Model X.

hozon-auto-at-ev

GreenWheel

GreenWheel received approval to develop a 50,000 unit plant. The company is better known for developing Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV). Now that GreenWheel has qualified for EV production it aims to start production of the small crossover, named the V5, which is an electric version of the Weichai Enranger G3.

greenwheel-v5

JAC

JAC and VW entered into a JV to produce 100,000 EVs per annum in May 2017 and became the 15th and last company to receive a permit in this round of permitting.

jac-iev-A50-EV

 

For too long the stereotype Chinese manufacturer has been known for copying rather than innovating. It is therefore disappointing to see that most of the authorized EV producers are still developing cars based on old combustion vehicles. The failure of the permitting process to identify and authorize truly innovative companies to ensure a sustainable and dominant Chinese EV sector will be negative for the whole EV sector, we need companies such as Tesla, testing the boundaries set by traditional auto manufacturers.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I would love to hear your comments on the state of China’s electric vehicle design in the comment section below.

Interested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the China switch and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.

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China halting development of new combustion plants

China halting development of new combustion plants

wattev2buy electric car myths debunked

wattev2buy electric car selection tools

wattev2buy electric car mobile app

wattev2buy china electric car

China halting development of new combustion plants

Recently the Chinese Government embarked on a program to clean up the electric vehicle sector which has been negatively impacted a confluence of companies rushing to produce electric vehicles lead to subsidy fraud and sub-standard products. At some point in 2016 over 200 companies had business plans to profit from the Chinese Government’s aggressive program to establish a dominant electric vehicle sector. A large number of the business operating in the sector had no previous experience in producing cars, among them were IT and Social Media companies such as Tencent (Future Mobility and Tesla), Baidu / BitAuto (NextEV) and LeEco (Faraday Future). The Chinese authorities became concerned that the unregulated development of the sector could lead to an oversupply of vehicles as the total planned capacity from the 200 companies reached over 50 million units annually, ultimately negatively impacting the sustainability of its program. At the end of 2016, the government closed or fined various manufacturers who were caught taking advantage of the subsidies to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. Further measures to regulate the industry included:

  • creating a list of battery manufacturers that are allowed to operate and supply technology to its electric vehicle sector,
  • regulating which automakers are allowed to produce electric vehicles in China through the issue of production certificates by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and
  • setting Electric Vehicle Management and Evaluation Rules through the Chinese Automotive Technology and Research Center.

 

Other adjustments were made to entry applications in the auto sector by requiring joint ventures with foreign automakers, such as Denza, to be approved by the investment department of the State Council, local manufacturers need approval from the relative provincial government. The State Council indicated that in principal new capacity to combustion plants should be capped effectively halting development of new combustion plants.

At the time of publication, only fourteen companies have so far received production certificates for new energy vehicles, the last being Guangdong GreenWheel Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd which received approval to develop a 50,000 unit plant in Mingcheng Industrial Park. Greenwheel indicated that the plant would be developed at a cost of $267 million ( RMB 1.783b ). To successfully apply for a production certificate, the applicant needs to convince the authorities that it can research and develop key technologies such as powertrains. The other companies with development certificates are BAIC BJEV, Changjiang EV, Qiantu Motor, Chery New Energy, Jiangsu Minan, Wanxiang Group (Karma Automotive), JMC EV, Chongqing Jinkang, NEVS, Yudo Auto, Know Beans, SD EV, and Hozon Auto.

Up to now Chinese auto manufacturers provided very sketchy specifications on the electric range of their models, mostly indicating how far the vehicle can travel at a constant speed of 60km/h. To protect and assist the consumer the Chinese Automotive Technology and Research Center for the first time introduced an EV Test through the issue of the Chinese First Electric Vehicle Management and Evaluation Rules. The first classification process should be completed in the second half of 2017. The classification would be done by a five-star rating focusing on the following key performance areas:

  • Power consumption,
  • Battery life,
  • Charging,
  • Safety, and
  • Performance.

The Chinese Government aggressive EV strategy targets the sale of 800,000 electric vehicles in 2017, increasing sales to two million units per annum by 2020. The top ten automakers, including FAW, Dongfeng Fengshen, Chana, SAIC, GAC Trumpchi, and Great Wall finalized production plans to produce over 4 million units by 2020 at a planned investment of $12 billion (RMB 80 billion ).

Interested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the China switch and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.

wattev2buy mobile app