The Chinese government has issued a permit to automotive design contractor CH-Auto Technology to build 50,000 electric vehicles per year, the third startup automaker to gain approval under a new licensing system.
Under a plan to switch from conventional powered vehicles to battery electric cars, China has opened up production to non-automakers, including technology companies,with a limit of 10 license permits.
CH-Auto Technology started out in 2003 as a designer of cars and purchased Qiantu Auto, which will manufacture EVs in its factory in the eastern city of Suzhou.
Qiantu’s first production car will be a small electric sports car not unlike the Tesla Motors Roadster that was unveiled at last month’s Beijing auto show.
Dubbed the Qiantu K50, the roadster features a carbon-fiber body and aluminum frame powered by two electric motors, one on each axle.
The motors will deliver a combined 400 horsepower and 479 pounds-feet of torque and should see the K50 hit 62 mph in around 4.6 seconds. The top speed is governed at 124 mph.
What isn’t clear is the driving range and who will supply the batteries.
With a targeted price of $105,000, Qiantu plans to sell the K50 in the U.S.
“We attach great importance to the U.S. because of its size, and it is also an open market where we see opportunities for our car,” Qiantu’s president Lu Qun said in an interview with South China Morning Post “We want to be there and compete with others.”
The company has started building prototypes, and if all goes according to plans, Qiantu will have the K50 ready for production in the second half of 2017.
Qiantu has already drawn up plans for five additional cars, with a mass-market model to come after the K50.