Grove wants to do things differently to its domestic competitors in China by making fuel cell vehicles its core business. For development, the new company has turned to Italy’s Pininfarina and is currently presenting two concepts at Auto Shanghai.
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On display at the Grove booth are the Granite sedan and the Obsidian SUV. The company is still holding back on technical details, but Grove intends to start series production as early as 2020 and says it has a “wide-ranging partnership for vehicle development” with Pininfarina. The latter considers the agreement a “sweet spot,” adds Pininfarina CEO Silvio Angori.
Moreover, the plans are extremely ambitious: Grove agreed a cooperation with the government of Nanjing, a district of the Chinese city of Chongqing, and the car rental company Chongqing Panda. A joint car-sharing project is to demonstrate the use case with 200 of Grove’s fuel cell cars – to begin with. In 2020 and 2021, Grove reckons 10,000 fuel cell vehicles could hit the sharing market in 20 more Chinese cities. Moreover, works in a factory in the district have started already with ramp up for full production slated for next year.
China is only one market, according to Autocar. Reports suggest Grove recently secured an agreement to expand into Australia and New Zealand, but there are no details of European expansion plans yet.
Grove Hydrogen was established by the Chinese Institute of Geosciences and Environment, which currently extracts hydrogen from industrial waste. The Institute says it is working with large Chinese cities to expand hydrogen infrastructure in the coming years.
Grove is based in the Chinese province of Wuhan and has a European design studio in Barcelona, Spain. Pininfarina is based in Turin, Italy and also has a team in Shanghai.
Pininfarina has reportedly also worked with Karma Automotive in China.
Update 24.04.2019: The Chinese carmaker is now also getting support from Germany: Grove has just announced development partnerships with the German R&D supplier Hofer Powertrain to come up with electric drive solutions to utilize fuel cell potential in Chinese markets, and the German FEV Group on a comprehensive co-development of mass-production vehicles and the joint promotion of Grove.
wixstatic.com (press release, pdf), wixstatic.com (production plans, pdf), autocar.co.uk (expansion plans), businesswire.com (sharing plans) businesswire.com (FEV update), businesswire.com (Hofer update)