Chinese-made electric cars complete record-breaking intercontinental trip
Chinese automaker Aiways received a Guinness World Records title on Monday as two of its cars successfully completed the longest journey ever done by an electric vehicle prototype.
An Aiways U5 electric SUV is displayed during the 18th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, also known as Auto Shanghai 2019, in Shanghai, China, April 16, 2019. [File Photo: IC]
Two Aiways all-electric U5 prototypes have finished a 15,022-km journey across 12 countries, starting from the Chinese city of Xi'an on July 17 and arriving in Frankfurt on Sept. 7.
The drive was part of the U5's final development, giving engineers the chance to subject the car to a long-distance examination in frequently harsh conditions, according to the Shanghai-based start-up.
The production version of the U5 will go on sale next April in Europe, including in Germany, France and the Netherlands, making Aiways the first Chinese electric car maker selling to the European market, according to Alex Klose, head of overseas operation at Aiways.
On Monday, the company also received a European homologation from its partner TUV Rheinland, meaning the U5 has been approved to be sold under European regulations.
The U5 was first unveiled in Shanghai in November 2018. It debuted in Europe at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019.
Previous reports said the model will be sold at a price range of about 200,000 yuan (28,038 U.S. dollars) to 300,000 yuan (42,057 dollars) in China.
Fu Qiang, Aiways' co-founder and president, did not disclose the Europe price on Monday but said the price in the Chinese market is already "very competitive."
The electric car has a range of 500 km on a single charge, and during the record-setting drive from China to Germany, the two prototypes underwent a rapid-charge from 20 percent to 80 percent in 40 minutes, the company said.
With good performance, spacious interiors and an affordable price, the U5 will have "few competitors" on the market, the company said.
Instead of traditional dealers, Aiways will adopt a "direct-to-customer" sales model and have a full ecosystem of after-sale support, including an announced partnership with Allianz in roadside assistance, Klose said.
He said the absence of dealers does not mean Aiways will not have test drive centers and pop-up stores to offer experiences for interested buyers.
Aiways is among a new generation of Chinese start-ups making electric vehicles. Founded in 2017, the company has its own research and development center, a battery plant and a production facility in China.