Evergrande New Energy Vehicle, the electric car division of the Chinese real estate group Evergrande, has started series production of its first model. The first model, the Hengchi 5, is a compact electric SUV.
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The company made the announcement on the Chinese messaging service Weibo. Evergrande NEV published a short video from the factory in Tianjin where the electric SUV is being built. According to the video, the turquoise 00001 model was built 12 days earlier than originally planned.
In the past months, there had not only been question marks behind the financial situation of the parent company, but also around the Hengchi 5: In November, the registration process for the Hengchi 5 LX at the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) was completed – indicating a market launch within four to six months. By December, however, the model had disappeared from the list again.
According to the registration data, the 4.73-metre-long electric SUV has an engine output of 150 kW; details on the battery and charging system were not yet apparent from the data in November. At that time, the design strongly resembled the studies shown in the course of 2021, further changes are not apparent from the short video sequences from the factory. According to the CN EV Post, the Hengchi 5 is to be priced as an entry-level model for under 200,000 yuan, which is equivalent to 27,400 euros.
Evergrande Auto has three production facilities in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin. With the first reports about the financial difficulties at the real estate group, there was immediate speculation as to whether the planned market launch in early 2022 could be kept. There were also media reports that the highly indebted group was considering selling its car division in order to get money quickly.
However, several months and torn bond payment deadlines later, the Evergrande Group said it would stick to its electric car production plans. Instead, the entire group is to be restructured – with the focus on electric cars. As Evergrande CEO Hui Ka Yan announced in October, electric vehicles are to become the company’s main business instead of real estate within ten years.
Update 31 October 2022
Evergrande New Energy Vehicle has started deliveries of the Hengchi 5. The first 100 units of the electric SUV were handed over to customers on Saturday. According to the company, delivery centres have now been set up in 19 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhengzhou and Chengdu.
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