China NEV Weekly Episode 7: Las Vegas, Lifan, and LvChi

China NEV Weekly Episode 7

Happy New Year! No time to waste: we continue with a new episode of China NEV Weekly, bringing you the latest New Energy Vehicles from China. This week, we start in Las Vegas:

Byton Concept

Byton launched a concept car at CES Las Vegas, and they called it ‘Concept’. The Concept concept previews a sporty full-electric SUV. It is scheduled to launch on the Chinese car market in late  2019 for about 300.000 yuan ($46.000). Byton is building a factory in Nanjing city in China’s Jiangsu province.

The production version of the Concept concept will be just under five meters long, and it is said to seat five persons. There will be a high-end 4WD version with 476 hp and a range of 520 kilometers, and a base 2WD car with 272 hp and a 402 kilometer range. It will be equipped with L3 (Level 3) autonomous driving technology.

Nagging little detail: Byton doesn’t have a production license from the Chinese government yet, without which they can’t legally make cars.

XPeng G3

XPeng does have a license, and they also went to Las Vegas to show off their G3 full-electric SUV. The G3 is a further development of the oddly named Identy X. The G3 is not totally in the clear when it comes to naming however; the company said that G3 stood for ‘Geek3’, and that this name was choose after a crowd-sourced contest.

The XPeng G3 will launch in China later this year. Its price will start around 250,000 yuan, or $38,000. Production has been outsourced to Haima Auto, an established, if small, car maker based in sunny Hainan province. Output will be 190 hp, good for a top speed of 170 kilometers per hour. Range will be about 300 kilometers. There won’t be any autonomous driving, but the G3 has a cool-looking camera on its roof,  images can be shared to the internet in real-time.

Geely Emgrand EV450

Geely lags a bit behind when it comes to NEVs. The only electric car they make is a small sedan called the Emgrand EV. But it sells pretty well,and Geely will soon add this Emgrand EV450 to the range. It comes with a trendy enclosed grille painted in white with the blue-black-gold Geely badge in the middle. Under normal driving conditions, the EV450 will have a rage of 400 kilometers, which is pretty impressive. However, when speed doesn’t exceed 60 km/h , it can go for 480 kilometers. This 60 km/h-thing is a un-official standard used by many Chinese automakers.

Output is 163 hp and 250 Nm, and that is high for the segment. Top speed is 140 km/h. The Emgrand EV450 will launch in March for about 160,000 yuan or $25,000.

Lifan 330EV C

Lifan became famous in 2008, when they launched the 320, a Mini clone with two more doors (which Mini thought was a pretty good idea…). That car morphed into the Lifan 330, which added a Fiat 500 front to the Mini mix. The 330 was cancelled in 2015, but Lifan still makes an EV version, and the latest variant of that is called the 330EV C. It launched earlier this week for just 51,800 yuan, or $7900.

For that money you get 3.7 meters of car, and five seats. The electric motor has an output of 82 hp and 200 Nm. Top speed is 100 km/h. Range is 180 kilometers under normal driving conditions. Lifan also claims a range of 260 kilometers “at constant speed” without specifying that speed. This appears to a new standard…

LvChi Urano

LvChi is a new Chinese NEV brand. They debuted not in Vegas, but at home in China. The Chinese name is Lüchi, best translated as ‘Green Carriage’. They are headquartered in Shanghai, with a design center in Italy and, a factory under construction in frosty Changchun. Their logo is a Leopard’s head. They showed off a very good looking concept car, called the Urano.

LvChi has giant plans, giant even for a Chinese EV startup. They say they have developed three EV platforms, on which they will base eight cars that will all launch before 2021. The eight cars include two SUVs, and a sportscar. The factory will have an initial capacity of 50.000 units in mid-2019, going up to 550.000 in 2023.

Their first car will be the production version of the Urano. It will sport a massive 700 hp and 900 Nm, and that will take it from 0-100 in just 3.5 seconds. Range using the NEDC standard is 500 kilometers.

More NEV next week!