More details have been revealed about the Chinese Evergrande Group’s ambitious electric car plans: Evergrande has now announced the first six models to be offered under the Hengchi brand.
The six models are numbered quite simply from 1 to 6 (Hengchi 1 to Hengchi 6) and include various body styles from sedans to SUVs and even a seven-seater van. The Chinese electric carmaker has not yet released technical data or a time schedule beyond the Hengchi 1.
Series production of the first Hengchi 1 model is scheduled to start in 2021. At the ground-breaking ceremony for the electric drive factory in May, it was still being said that the Hengchi 1 would be presented in the first half of 2020 and go into series production from 2021. Instead of a more detailed presentation of the Hengchi 1, the company has given an outlook on the first six series.
The Hengchi 1 is to become an “ultra-luxury sedan” in the D-segment, with a wheelbase of 3.15 metres. The Hengchi 2 is to become a luxury sedan in the B-segment, the Hengchi 4 a luxury MPV with seven seats. All three models were drawn by Anders Warming (formerly Mini and Borgward). The Hengchi 3 is to become a large luxury SUV, while models 5 and 6 are to be positioned in the A-segment – one as an SUV, the other as a crossover.
On the renderings of the front views published in Chinese media, five of the six vehicles carry a continuous element between the headlights. Sometimes a kind of radiator grille is hinted at (e.g. Hengchi 1 and 4), sometimes the front is closed at the top and only one air intake is installed further down (Hengchi 2), or a radiator grille is actually installed, which shapes the design of the front (Hengchi 3).
The company indicates that after the Hengchi 1 things may move quickly: Evergande Health and its subsidiaries are “doing everything in their power to expand the NEV business”. To this end, they have formed an “industry chain covering power battery, motor powertrains, advanced vehicle manufacturing, vehicle sales and smart charging,” laying the foundations for building further models.
In China, reactions to the six models were mixed. Li Yanwei, an analyst at the China Automobile Dealers Association, told the news website shine.cn that four of the announced vehicles were actually too big for battery operation. He only sees chances for the Hengchi 5 and 6, since the competition is already strong in the A-segment with BYD, Geely and BAIC BJEV.
Also announced last week was that the board of Evergrande Health is proposing to rename the company from ‘Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd’ to ‘China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group Limited’. In short form, the company should then be called ‘Evergrande Auto’. The Board of Directors justifies the change of name on the grounds that New Energy Vehicles has become its most important line of business.
The Chinese group originally grew up with real estate and now wants to become one of the largest producers of New Energy Vehicles. Up to now, Evergrande has mainly purchased know-how either by means of a takeover as in the case of NEVS, by partial entry as in the case of Koenigsegg, by means of joint ventures as in the case of Hofer or by cooperation as in the case of FEV Group, EDAG, IAV Group, AVL and Magna.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.