TOP EV NEWS #1 – BYTON IS DEAD, LONG LIVE BYTON
The future of one of the most anticipated luxury EVs now seems dark. The Chinese EV startup, Byton, dismissed most of its staff at its operations in mainland China. Operations if California and Munich are also affected, each only retaining around ten employees. Although not dead, the company has gone back to the drawing board with a small team to assist management and shareholders to access its future.
Byton opened its first experience store in Shanghai in January 2019 and planned to start selling its first cars at the end of 2019. Byton was on the verge of testing the first pre-production models of the M-Byte when the Covid-19 related stoppage halted the company’s progress.
Byton announced at a general staff meeting that it would pay its employees the arrears of March wages before July 10, and the salary for April, May, and June will be paid in stages as soon as possible. For employees who took the initiative to resign from June 30 and completed the resignation before July 3, Byton will pay their unpaid remuneration in full, but the quota is “limited.”
Since its launch in 2017, Byton has completed four funding rounds, raising around 8.4 billion yuan. Byton North America, based in Germany, has started bankruptcy filing procedures.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – NEW EV MODELS AND MODEL UPDATES
SAIC Wuling is listing three small electric cars this month. The first two are in collaboration with GM through the SAIC Wuling sub-brand, Boajun. The three-seat Baojun E300 and four-seat Boajun E300 Plus are priced below $10,000. The other small EV by SAIC Wuling coming to market this month will be the cheapest EV around, priced below $5,000. The Wuling Hongguang electric car will reach the market by the middle of July.
Pre-orders for the first model from SAIC’s new high-end R EV brand, the Roewe ER6 opened this week. The SAIC Roewe R ER6 comes equipped with SAIC’s new SKYEYE biometric system whereby a driver can start the vehicle by just brushing his face. The Roewe ER6 has a range of 605km (NEDC), for a detailed review go here.
The Changan CS55 E-Rock pure electric SUV will be launched in July. The E-Rock is available in a 403km and 605km battery option, priced from 164,900 yuan to 205,900 yuan after subsidies and discounts. Potential buyers can earn discount points through sharing details of the CS55 E-Rock on social platforms. The E-Rock looks similar to the CS55 combustion version.
The Jonway subsidiary China UFO unveiled the FEIDI Q pure-electric delivery van, available from September 2020. Chinese couriers deliver over 60 billion parcels a year, and a delivery vehicle delivers around 200 parcels a day, traveling 200km in urban areas to do so. The FEIDI Q offers class beating safety in the form of a reduced full-load braking distance of 42.7 meters, compared to 50 to 60 meters by its peers. For more details go here.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – BYD LAUNCHES IN EUROPE
Earlier the year, BYD announced that it would expand its electric vehicle range to the European market. In May 2020, it partnered with the Norwegian firm RSA to distribute its cars in the Scandinavian country. Europe is the most exciting market for electric vehicles, giving Chinese EV manufacturers a golden opportunity to promote their brands.
Last month Chinese EV startup Aiways delivered the first batch of its U5 SUV to Corsica. The first EV to be introduced by BYD is the pure electric BYD Tang SUV. BYD will also target commercial applications through the introduction of an electric panel van, a 7.5-tonne rigid truck, a 19-tonne rigid truck, and a yard tractor.
At a launch event in Oslo this week, BYD and RSA launched the BYD TANG EV. The Tang’s launch in Norway is seen as a pilot project for further expansion to other European countries. The BYD Tang will sell from 599,999 NOK (ca $63,000) and be fitted with the new Blade battery, which increases safety.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – CHINESE STATE-OWNED OEMs JOIN TO CREATE EV TECHNOLOGY
The Stata-owned vehicle manufacturers, Changan, FAW, and Dongfeng this week, brought their planned EV technology JV to life with the formation of two companies in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. The three OEMs together command around 30% of the Chinese vehicle market.
The three OEMs formed two companies referred to as the T3 Technology Platform Company to develop autonomous and electric platforms within five years. Talk of the partnership goes back as far as 2017. The Joint Venture was formalized in December 2018 with the signing of the “T3 Technology Platform Company Joint Venture Cooperation Intention Agreement”. The JV has a registered share capital of 16 Billion yuan ($2.264Bln).
The shareholding structure consists of:
- 3.125% Changan Automobile – 500 million yuan
- 25.0% FAW – 4 billion yuan
- 25.0% Dongfeng – 4 billion yuan
- 25% Jiangning Economic Development Technology – 4 billion yuan
- 21.875% Military Equipment Group
TOP EV NEWS #5 – VOLTA TRUCKS SECURE PILOT PARTNERS
Swedish electric truck startup, Volta Trucks, signed up some of the leading delivery companies in Scandinavia, Bring, and Posten to pilot its Zero electric truck in 2021. The 16ton Volta Zero electric truck will operate between urban mail and parcel pick-up and drop-off locations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
The Volta Zero is developed as a clean and safe truck for urban use and will be custom manufactured to clients’ needs and contracted to customers through an innovative “TaaS” model.
In January, Volta announced that it would commence pilot operations in London and Paris. At the time, Carl-Magnus Norden, co-founder of Volta Trucks, said, “Heavy Good Vehicles are a significant contributor to pollution in urban areas, and due to archaic, clunky designs, these have also grown to become some of the greatest safety hazards to pedestrians and cyclists. Innovation within transportation is underway, but the logistics and retail industries, though willing to change, are moving slowly due to a lack of good alternatives and so struggling to keep up with new regulations. Making it easier for fleet operators to go electric and improve the safety of the vehicles they use, we see that we are able to speed up the pace of positive change, to ensure safer and less-polluted cities.”
The Bring VP of logistics, Per Öhagen, said: “By 2025, our goal is that all our vehicles and buildings will be emission neutral. To reach that goal, partnering with companies like Volta Trucks are crucial. To be the first pilot user of a Volta Truck in Scandinavia sends a clear message of our sustainability intent, and we look forward to a good collaboration to develop the emission-free trucks of the future.”
Top 5 EV News Week 32 2020 | Cadillac Lyriq unveiled. Yet another Chinese EV startup IPO. Three new EV models launched this week.
Top 5 EV News Week 31 2020 | Successful IPO for CHJ Auto, Kandi finally enters the USA, Mitsubishi pays the cost for failing EV strategy.
Top 5 EV News Week 30 2020 | Chengdu Auto Show, Hozon Neta IPO, VW invest in China, eVito Tourer for sale