Hybrid Kinetic Prepping To Take On Tesla and Mercedes

Hybrid Kinetic Group is taking on Tesla and Mercedes by tapping into the company’s experience in the ups and downs of auto manufacturing.

The Chinese automaker partnered with Italian design house Pininfarina on the H600 electric luxury sedan that was shown at the Geneva Motor Show. Scheduled to roll out by 2019-20, it will be competing directly with the Tesla Model S and is seeking to grab Mercedes owners.

To impress that audience, the company says it’s designing a powertrain with electric motors that will have a combined output of 600 kW (804 horsepower). It will also have the option of a microturbine range extender, the company said.

Hybrid Kinetic, formerly called HK Motors, is led by Yung Benjamin Yeung, the billionaire known for founding Brilliance China Automotive. A few years ago, BMW forged an alliance with the automaker to startup up the BMW Brilliance joint venture serving that market.

HK experienced what many startup companies in the U.S. and China have gone through – starting up and losing a vehicle manufacturing plant. In 2009, the company had announced plans to build cars at a new factory based in Alabama. That plan was later aborted.

The company took lessons learned out of that failure into its present identity.

“We’re always going to make mistakes. It’s how you recover from those that defines how this company will be run in the future,” said board member Carter Yeung.

Hybrid Kinetic Group’s website also displays its eBus all-electric bus line.

The H600 will have trial production done at Pininfarina’s Italian plant, and then will start up full production in China.

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Yeung said the company will scale up production to 200,000 vehicles a year within five to 10 years.

Two other cars will be unveiled at the Shanghai auto show next month.

While it may sound like a grand scheme placing the company on vulnerable footing, Yeung is confident the company has what it takes.

“A lot of Chinese companies overpromise and underdeliver. We’re going to be the opposite,” he said.

Automotive News

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