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The Sylphy ZE Is An Affordable Electric Car For China From Dongfeng & Nissan

Nissan and Dongfeng have begun production of the Sylphy ZE, an electric car designed specifically for Chinese customers. More are on the way.

Nissan and Dongfeng have jointly produced 10 million vehicles for sale to consumers in China over the past 15 years. The Sylphy, a version of the midsize sedan known as the Nissan Sentra in other markets, is the company’s best selling model in China. This week, the Sylphy Zero Emissions began production at the Nissan Dongfeng factory in Huadu. It is the first electric car from Nissan designed specifically for sale to Chinese drivers.

Nissan Sylphy ZE electric car

What is a Sylphy ZE? It is an amalgam of the Sentra body style and LEAF running gear. It is built on the same chassis as the latest version of the LEAF and the styling has been modified from the regular Sylphy to more closely resemble that car. It has a range of 210 miles using the Chinese testing protocol according to Motor 1.

The Sylphy ZE is aimed specifically at the lower end of the electric car market. Priced at $25,850 after available incentives, it costs about half the price of the Nissan LEAF sold locally by the Nissan and Dongfeng’s joint venture under the Venucia brand. The least expensive electrics in China sell for around $22,000 after incentives.

“We’re confident that the Sylphy Zero Emission rolling off the production line today will become a main player in the EV market,” Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa tells the Associated Press. “We’re going to roll out a range of EVs that will appeal to customers within all market segments.”

In a report by Automotive World, Saikawa also says, “China is already the world’s largest automotive market. But China isn’t just a leader in terms of market size: It stands at the forefront of the development of the industry itself. The market is now evolving extremely quickly, especially in the areas of electrification and connectivity. In fact, China is expected to lead the world in the adoption and spread of EVs in the coming years.”

“We’re confident that the Sylphy Zero Emission rolling off the production line today will become a main player in the EV market here. It’s going to pave the way for our Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy in the Chinese market. By the end of 2019, DFL plans to launch five new EV models across the Nissan, Venucia and Dongfeng brands. We’re going to roll out a range of EVs that will appeal to customers within all market segments.”

The Chinese government has set a target of 2 million electric cars sold in China a year by 2020. As aggressive as that goal may be, it still represents less than 10% of the total Chinese new car market. Manufacturers are desperate to sell more electric cars in China, where new government low emissions policies require them to buy credits from other companies if they fail to do so.

Electric cars are given the highest number of credits under that system. Plug-in hybrids get the next highest number of credits and conventional hybrids the lowest of all. Conventional cars, of course, get no credits, which will tend to drive up their prices and make electric cars more competitive.

Dongfeng and Nissan announced earlier this year they intend to develop 20 electric models as part of a $10 billion investment program over the next 5 years. Three of those models will appear this year and three more “affordable EV” compacts are scheduled to arrive in 2019.

At the moment, Nissan says it has no plans to sell the Sylphy ZE outside of China, so if you want a selfie with a Sylphy ZE, you will have to go to China to get one.

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