China NEV Weekly, episode 2: Blue is the new green in red China

China NEV Weekly

Welcome to Episode 2 of the China NEV Weekly, where we look at the latest New Energy Vehicles from China. While Tesla fans may have to wait years for their Model 3, there rarely is a week without new EVs, cranked-out by bustling Chinese OEMs. This week in CNW: NextEV goes downmarket, an (oh, dear) electric coffee car, EVs for less than the (possibly expiring) federal tax credit, and blue is the new green, also in red China.

NIO ES8

NIO has announced that their ES8 electric SUV will hit the Chinese car market on December 16.

NIO is an EV brand under NextEV, a Shanghai-based electric car company launched by internet entrepreneur Robin Li. Their first car was the limited-production NIO EP9 supercar. The NIO ES8 is a seven-seat mass-market SUV, gunning straight for the Tesla Model X. Output is 326 hp. NIO claims a 0-100 in 4.4 seconds, and a range of 355 kilometers.

The ES8 is produced by Jianghuai-Weilai, a joint venture between NIO and Jianghuai Automotive Corporation (JAC). The cars will roll off the line in a JAC factory. Interestingly, this JAC is the same company that recently signed a joint venture agreement with Volkswagen to make a series of cheap EVs, possibly under the Seat name.

DearCC EV10

DearCC wins this week’s award for Best New Brand Name. It is supposed to sound cozy. The Chinese name is a winner too: Dianka, best translated as electric coffee. It really is as weird as it sounds.

DearCC is a subsidiary of SouEast Motors (that’s not a spelling error), a large Chinese automaker that sells cars under their own name and via a joint venture with Mitsubishi.

The DearCC brand is aimed at hip young car buyers living in big cities, and I guess this is where the coffee connection comes into play; those hip youngsters all go to Starbucks to look at their pad, don’t they now?

The EV10 is DearCC’s first car, and the company announced this week that the launch will be November 16. It looks rather nice, almost trendy, especially with that red roof. Power comes from a 57 hp electric motor, and range is 155 kilometers. The EV10 will cost around 80,000 yuan, or $12,090.

BJEV EX400L

The BJEV EX400L (catchy name again …) is a small electric crossover that will be launched later this month, and yes, those beautiful blue stripes are factory standard.

‘BJEV’ stands for BeiJing Electric Vehicle (in China, “BJ” stands for Beijing, not for what you think it does …) a subsidiary of the Beijing Auto Industry Corporation (BAIC). BJEV sells a range of electric vehicles that are based on petrol-powered cars. The BJEV EX400L is based on the Beijing Auto Senova X25. The electric motor has an output of 72 hp. Range is a very impressive 400 kilometers.

Over the last few years, BJEV has continually improved the range of its EVs. They started off in the 150’s, then moved to 200, 250, and most of their current cars have a range of about 300 kilometers. So 400 kilometers for the new car is a believable number. Price will start around 130,000 yuan or $19,650.

Blue is the new green

Why design a new bumper for your EV when you can also have a blue circle on the exhaust pipe hole..? Chinese efficiency!

Blue is the Chinese color for green. In the West, clean cars are called ‘green cars’ and often go with green badges and green-themed advertising. In China however the term ‘green car’ is rarely used, the Chinese prefer to talk about ‘clean’ or ‘new-energy’ cars. Therefore, there isn’t much green to be seen on NEVs.

China is using blue instead, and a lot of it. Blue grilles, blue badges, blue stripes, blue interior detailing, and loads of blue in advertisements. The color blue is at least partially government mandated. In China, all EVs are issued an official government-designed EV-badge, and that badge is, you guessed it, blue.

Yogomo Exing

Yogomo is an interesting EV-maker from Hebei Province. They started out in the low-speed electric vehicle (LSEV) business, and have since moved up to EVs. The company’s technology, manufacturing, and marketing are all remarkably well-sorted for a Chinese automaker of this kind. Sadly, they ruined their reputation by cloning the Volkswagen Bulli concept and the Kia Picanto.

Happily, the new Exing isn’t an obvious clone, although design was clearly influenced by Hyundai. It is a small car, just 3.6 meters long and 1.6 meters wide, but it seats four, and will go 155 kilometers on one charge. The motor has an output of 41 hp, which is really not very much. But it is cheap. The Exing launched earlier this week, and buyers can take one home for just 50,000 yuan or $7,560.

Haima @3

And the prize for the Biggest Blue Nose goes to Haima with the @3, and that makes them this week’s winner of the Best Name Award as well. Haima Auto is a mid-sized car maker from China’s subtropical Hainan Island, most of their cars are based on old Mazda platforms.

The @3 (ad-three) is a compact sedan fitted with a nose that makes a Lexus jealous. The blue detailing is factory standard, so you can really show off your NEV-ness in this thing.

Power comes from an electric motor with 95 hp, and range is 202 kilometers (not 200, but 202). The @3 was launched earlier this week for 95,800 yuan or $14,480.

Landwind E400

Here is another one with a blue nose, including a large blue E in a rather old fashioned font. The E of course stands for electric. Landwind is a small automaker from Jiangxi Province, most famous for the Landwind X7 Range Rover Evoque clone.

The E400 is based on the petrol powered Landwind X2, sporting a reasonable original design. The electric motor has an output of 122 hp and range is 252 kilometers (not 250, but 252). The Landwind E400 will hit the market later this month for almost exactly the same money as the Haima @3: 99,800 yuan or $15.080.

Small crossovers are fast becoming the most popular kind of NEV, pushing aside the small sedan. Almost every Chinese car maker is selling and/or developing new electric crossovers, so the market will soon become even more crowded than it is today.

The E400 is Landwind’s first foray into the battle, but the brand is working on two more electric crossovers that will be positioned above the E400. These cars are expected to launch in 2018.

More NEV next week.