Chery launches first electric vehicles M1-EV

Chery Automobile Co. entered the new electric vehicle market Friday with the launch of its high-speed all-electric car M1- EV.

Chery joins other local auto makers, including Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. and Great Wall Motor Co. (2333.HK), in launching electric vehicles, a sector identified by the government as having strategic importance.

The M1-EV, equipped with a 336-volt electric drive system, has a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour and can cover 150km on a single charge.

Chery also showcased another all-electric car–the S18D–at an international electric car show in Shenzhen on Friday. That model includes a range-extending device enabling the car to cover 300km on a charge.

The Chinese government has pledged to speed up development of electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries as it seeks to gain more clout in the global auto industry while also promoting energy efficiency.

Chery Automobile has inked an agreement with Turkish automaker Mermerler Otomotiv to build a plant that will cost US$500 million in Sakarya, Turkey.

The plant, which will start construction by the end of this year, is designed to have an annual output capacity of 20,000 autos in the initial phase, and the capacity is expected to reach 100,000 units in 2017.

Chery Auto plans to produce Chery A3, Chery Niche and Change sedans, as well as a small-sized SUV model, probably a version of the Chery Tiggo, in the new plant. The Chinese automaker hopes to further expand its market in Europe through the establishment of the new plant.