HANGZHOU// – A joint venture between China’s Geely and Kandi’s Fengsheng Automotive Technology Group has resulted in the birth of a new electric car brand in China named Maple.
Price of the brand’s first model, the Maple 30x, starts at less than $9,750.
The 30x is a compact SUV with a 70-kW engine that is offered at prices starting at 68,800 yuan after subsidies (the equivalent of around $9,715) – the premium package costs 79,800 yuan ($11,235).
However, it remains to be seen how much subsidy Maple has currently included in its price range. The current maximum rate of 25,000 yuan (around $3,570) is only available to e-cars with a range of 400 kilometres and more – the 30x comes to 306 kilometres.
In addition, it has not yet been decided at what rates the central government will continue to subsidise the NEV. Either way, the Maple 30x is one of the price breakers on the market.
According to Chinese media reports, the first copies in series quality were produced as early as January. The vehicles are currently being distributed by the sales company to the dealers – which suggests that the first deliveries are likely to be made soon.
Auto critics have accused the makers of Maple 30x for clearly copying the design of India’s Tata Nexon SUV.
Volvo’s parent company Geely holds 78 per cent of Fengsheng Automotive Technology Group, the remaining 22 per cent is owned by Zhejiang Kandi Vehicle. The business purpose is officially stated as research and development of electric vehicles and car parts, car leasing services, sales of car parts and relevant after-sales services.
Maple’s second model, an all-electric MPV, is scheduled to follow in the third quarter, but details of the vehicle are not yet available. According to a product launch plan, a mid-size SUV, a mini hatchback and an “ultra-mini hatchback” are planned for 2021.
By 2025, other models of various sizes are to be successively introduced to the market, and Maple wants to serve many segments from the smallest car to the large SUV. The Chinese manufacturer also announced an electric pickup and an electric roadster.