Chinese automotive manufacturer BAIC announced that its EV subsidiary, BJEV, is working on six new fully electric models based on three new BEV platforms by 2021. The new vehicles are expected to be primarily sedans, SUVs, and vans, but the firm is playing this one very close to the chest, with little additional detail beyond that.
Supporting the new production vehicles, BAIC BJEV commissioned a new 2 billion yuan ($291 million), 50,000 square meter (538,000 square foot) development facility established along with 14 other partners in the space, including automotive veteran vehicle builder Magna, BAIC investor Daimler, battery titan CATL, and Huawei Technologies. Daimler acquired 3.93% of the company in March 2018, and earlier this month, BAIC acquired a 5% stake in Daimler. The new facility will contain 88 laboratories and more than 400 testing rooms focused on electric vehicle development and testing.
The current phase of work is just the first phase of a much larger expansion and is a part of a much longer investment of a total of 5.3 billion yuan ($770 million) in the new energy vehicle space. The key focuses of the new development center will be: battery, electric motor, electric control unit, lightweight materials, intelligent connectivity, and complete vehicle application.
The new development center will allow new vehicle designs to be run through 378 vehicle tests, 407 system tests, and 4,774 component tests before moving into production to ensure a high-quality vehicle. Construction of a second phase of the facility will wrap up in 2020 as BAIC and its partners continue to invest in research and development of new energy vehicles.
“The official opening of this new energy vehicle experiment center showcases BAIC’s pursuit of product quality and safety, and it has significance to improve the innovation ability and strengthen high-level cooperation,” said Wan Gang, a leading advocate for China’s clean energy vehicle programs.
The uptick in activity in BAIC’s BJEV comes as the company continues to enjoy steady growth, with a 21% increase in sales in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year. An impressive 26,072, or 40%, of the 65,159 vehicles sold in the first half of 2019 were in June. BAIC is also looking to take BAIC BJEV public in the third quarter of the year, according to BAIC Group chairman Xu Heyi.
Earlier this year, BAIC BJEV partnered with Magna on the production of a new fully electric vehicle in Zhenjiang, China. The new vehicle will be completely built by Magna, with BAIC managing the facility.
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