China's Evergrande's EV dream inches closer with ongoing winter test
China's Evergrande Group, the property giant with ambitions to take on Elon Musk in the world of electric vehicles, released photos and video footage of its first batch of cars undergoing a winter test.
Pictures of 10 sports-utility vehicles, whose model name wasn’t disclosed, were shown driving in a circle on a snow-covered field in Inner Mongolia. The three-week cold climate test will include a performance evaluation of the vehicle’s body, battery, electric motor and electric-control system, Evergrande said in a statement. Other details like the cars’ driving range weren’t revealed.
Still, the road test is a milestone of sorts for Evergrande, which has spent more than $3.7 billion on an array of EV-related companies after announcing in 2019 it wanted to be the world’s premier manufacturer of green cars within three to five years, toppling Tesla Inc.
Evergrande had initially promised to deliver its first ‘pure battery’ car by June 2019. Last August, its car unit said it aimed to start mass production of EVs in the second half of this year. Pictures and a video of six new-energy cars, from sedans to sports-utility vehicles, were unveiled at the time. The make of the vehicle being tested Wednesday is one of those six models, a company spokeswoman said without elaborating.
According to Wednesday’s statement, two of Evergrande’s planned production bases, in Guangzhou and Shanghai, have started trial production. Evergrande will also start mass production of its own batteries in the second half of 2021, the statement said.
After a $3.4 billion share sale last month, Evergrande’s EV startup is already worth more than $53 billion. That’s almost double the market value of Evergrande, even though the parent’s revenue in the first half was nearly 60 times that of the automaker.
Evergrande will be entering a crowded EV sector in China. New-energy vehicle retail sales rose 9.8% in 2020 to 1.1 million units and surged 58% year-on-year in December to 206,000, the China Passenger Car Association said last month. Of those December deliveries, 23,804 cars were Teslas.