TOP EV NEWS #1 – THE ROAD TOWARDS PRODUCTION EVs

FIRST FF91 PRE-PRODUCTION EV COMPLETED

Faraday Future held a worker-management “First Pre-Production” ceremony at its Hanford, California assembly plant this week. The black FF91 shown in the cover this week is the first to come off the line marks an important milestone in the company’s sometimes controversial road to get its first car on the road early next year. According to a blog post by the company, it is hiring on a large scale, and it collaborates with the College of the Sequoias (Visalia) to execute business-essential training at the state of California’s Hanford Training Resource Center. New employees get a 40-hour team-building induction after which they take part in applied manufacturing training on-site at the Hanford factory for their respective roles.

BYTON SHOWS ENGINEERING PROTOTYPE

Byton revealed the first engineering prototype of the Byton M-Byte on the 28th of August in Nanjing as the EV start-up enters the final stages before mass-production. The engineering prototype will be used to perform tests such as active and passive safety testing. Pre-production of the M-Byte is scheduled for the first half of 2019 for the Chinese launch later the year. The Byton M-Byte will also be available in Europe and the USA in 2020.

Features of the Byton M-Byte include daytime running lights which interacts with the environment around it and also show different expressions. The doors open through facial recognition and the rearview mirror is replaced by a camera. The center console LCD screen of the BYTON M-Byte Concept is 125cm by 25cm and supports gesture recognition. The M-Byte’s dual-spoke steering wheel is also equipped with a 9-inch touchscreen with buttons on both sides for functions such as seat adjustment.

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DYSON EV PLANS TAKE FLIGHT

The British appliance manufacturer Dyson’s EV plans notched up another gear as the company earmarked $150 million for a test facility at an old World War 2 airfield in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England. Dyson plans to transform the 750-acre RAF Hullavington Airfield into a 10-mile long test track for its electric vehicle development program. The test track will allow Dyson to test its EVs in al manner of conditions including handling and stability, off-road driving, a skid pan and a high-speed runway for speeds above 100 miles per hour (161 kph). Dyson will also construct offices for its R&D team which will eventually house up to 2,000 staff.

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An artist’s impression of what the test track may look like and restored hanger at the Dyson facility. CNN TECH

TOP EV NEWS #2 – KANDI ADAPTS ELECTRIC CARS FOR THE USA

Kandi Technologies Group unveiled its two-seater K22 and compact SUV the EX3 in Dallas Texas as it enters the US market. In a press release via NASDAQ on which Kandi is listed Kandi announced that it would sell the two models in the USA via its wholly owned subsidiary SC Autosports, LLC – previously Sportsman Country the ATV distributor. Kandi has its roots in lowcost neighborhood electric vehicles, but according to Kandi the K22 and EX3 have undergone several driving performance upgrades from the Chinese models, to accommodate the needs of the U.S. market. The newer models’ performance, battery life, and driving experience have been upgraded to strengthen their presence in the U.S. market. Pricing and specifications for the US models were not released, but a price point of below $20,000 before subsidy for the K22 subcompact was mentioned in various publications. It will be interesting to see how the Kandi EVs fair in the USA where there has been few subcompact EVs available as opposed to Europe and China. Furthermore, how will the US consumer deal with the stigma around quality and safety of Chinese auto’s? Kandi’s sales in China has been lackluster in 2017/2018 as the company crashed out of the Top 10 EV brands to the 24th position.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – NEW EV MODELS ON SALE THIS WEEK

BYD launched the upgraded Song series this week. The BYD Song DM PHEV and Song EV500 are available from 30 August. Pricing for the plug-in version range from ¥176,900 to ¥206,900 after subsidies while that of the Song EV500 from ¥189,900 to ¥219,900. The BYD Song’s trademark ‘Dragon Face” received a major facelift and performance upgrade.

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Dongfeng Nissan launched the Sylphy EV this week. The Sylphy is exclusive to the Chinese market and based on the Nissan Leaf drivetrain. Nissan is selling the 2017 Leaf Gen 1as an imported model through its Venucia JV from ¥242,800. Venucia announced in Week 32 that it would bring three EVs to market by 2019, including a sedan. The Nissan Sylphy is available from ¥166,000 after subsidy on a pre-sale special. Nissan Dongfeng also provides customers a guaranteed three-year buy-back at 55% of the purchase price. Nissan Dongfeng allows owners of the Sylphy membership to its new “NISSAN E-Club” offering special deals and rewards to members. For the launch of the Sylphy, the first 1,500 customers who placed pre-orders are awarded coupons to the value of ¥3,000 which could be used as an extra discount on the purchase price of the Sylphy.

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TOP EV NEWS #4 – FUNDING FLOWS FOR EV START-UPS

NIO IPO

Chinese EV start-up NIO has set the terms for its IPO on the NASDAQ. The company will trade on the NIO ticker symbol and is expected to start trading on the 12th of September according to the NASDAQ website. According to Chinese Government data NIO is one of 102 companies producing 355 different kinds of electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles (March 2018) and by now means the only company looking for US-based funds. Kandi Technologies Group (KNDI) which manufacturers ARV’s and small electric passenger cars are also listed on the NASDAQ. US-based Hillhouse already owns 7.5% of NIO and plan to increase its shareholding by $150 million through the IPO. According to NIO’s filing, it will issue 160,000,000 shares at a price ranging between $6.25 and $8.25, valuing the company at $8.5 billion. The IPO will raise at least $1.32 billion for the company and can raise as much as $1.52 million through an option to increase the offer with 15% be exercised.

CHINA’s SINGULATO GETS JAPANESE FUNDING

The Japanese conglomerate Itochu Group invested ¥1 billion yen (¥60 million yuan) in Chinese EV start-up Singulato. The transaction will include closer co-operation between Japanese auto suppliers and Singulato. Singulato is one of the few EV start-ups that have access to the same Panasonic NCA 18650 battery used by Tesla.  ITOCHU Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated trading companies. The company is involved in machinery, aerospace, information, multimedia, metals and energy, chemicals, finance, real estate and other businesses. In the automotive industry, ITOCHU has been focusing on powertrain, intake and exhaust, brakes and other fields, and is engaged in the import and export of complete vehicles and spare parts. Initially, Singulato planned to bring its first EV, the iS6 to market late 2018 but now 2019 seems to be the new timeline. Singulato showcased a racing and off-road version of the iS6 Pro EV at the China Automobile modification and Associated Parts Exhibition (China Auto Salon) held in late July.

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Singulato iS6 Pro EV at China Automobile modification and Associated Parts Exhibition (China Auto Salon)

TOP EV NEWS #5 – EQC TEASED BEFORE SEPTEMBER LAUNCH

Mercedes teased images this week of the EQC in the run-up to the September 4 launch of the Mercedes EQC SUV, the first model from Daimler’s EV specific brand. The marketing campaign which started in Week 19 with spy images saw the German automaker tweeting images of the “Mystic Front”, “Mystic Rear” and dash of the much anticipated luxury electric SUV. Mercedes has the jump on Audi who postponed the launch of the Audi e-tron Quattro to mid-September from August after the arrest of its CEO.

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