China’s BAIC launches electric vehicles

The new subsidiary, named Beijing New Energy Automotive Co, will be engaged in the research and development, manufacture and sales of key auto parts, electric cars, hybrid cars and charging systems.

Annual production capacity at the new company is expected to reach 20,000 to 40,000 units of new electric vehicleswith the brand "Beijing" in 2011, and annual sales revenue from new electric cars is expected to hit RMB 15 billion in 2015, accounting for 5% to 10% of its total sales.

The new electric car model BE701 has a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, and it can run 200 km once charged up to its full. The car costs 12 kilowatt-hour electricity every 100 km and saves more than RMB 5,000 fuel costs every 15,000 km.

BAIC is the fifth-largest auto maker in China by sales. It has joint ventures with South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz.

Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation has apparently won the race to become the first Chinese car maker to build an electric vehicle. BAIC has apparently finished developing its car, codenamed BE701, which will be produced at a new factory near Beijing. The plan is to build 50,000 electric vehicles and 100,000 hybrids each year at the new facility.

The newly developed electric plug-in reportedly has a 120-mile range, a 0-62mph time of 15s and a top speed of 100mph. BAIC plans to sell 20,000 to 40,000 vehicles a year starting in 2011, but has not said when the BE701 itself will go on sale.

In the summer, rival Chinese car maker Dongfeng announced that it is working with Dutch-based company to develop and manufacture electric cars.

Detroit Electric Holdings, a start-up company that owns the electric drive technology to be used in the cars, licensed it to Dongfeng for testing and use in its electric vehicles. Detroit Electric said its electric drive systems will allow cars to travel up to 200 miles on a single charge.

BAIC displayed a "Beijing" electric car numbered "BE701"at the launching ceremony. The maximum speed of the car is 160 km per hour and it can run 200 km once charged up to its full, witj lithium ion batteries, which takes one to 10 hours depending on the charging mode.

The "Beijing" electric car can save more than 5,000 yuan (732 U.S. dollars) fuel costs every 15,000 km compared with the gasoline-driven cars.