BAIC sets sights on Europe with electric supercar, crossover

Nick Gibbs

Automotive News | 2019-3-8

GENEVA -- Chinese automaker and EV specialist Beijing Auto will enter Europe soon with its electric Arcfox brand, the company¡¯s chairman said.

The automaker, which has joint ventures in China with Daimler and Hyundai, will first sell an electric supercar and is investigating following that with an electric crossover, BAIC Chairman Xu Heyi told journalists on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show.

BAIC¡¯s Arcfox brand unveiled a concept of the crossover, named ECF, as well as two versions of the GT electric supercar, one a road-going model, the other track-only. 

The ECF was designed by VW¡¯s former head of design, Walter de Silva, as part his new job working for the styling arm of German engineering firm EDAG.

The compact ECF has four electric motors and has a range of between 400-700km (240-434 miles) on the NEDC cycle, depending on battery size, the company said.

Arcfox current sells the Arcfox Lite two-seat minicar in China, mainly to short-term rental fleets. The production version of the ECF will go on sale in China in the first half of 2020, and the GT road-going version of the supercar will appear at the same time, Heyi said. The car would go on sale in Europe ¡°as soon as possible¡± Heyi said, without giving a timeframe.

Arcfox is the premium division of BAIC¡¯s electric brand Beijing Electric Vehicle, while Arcfox Lite is BJEV¡¯s entry-level brand.  BJEV offers four EVs under its own brand, according to its website ¨C two sedans and two crossovers. It delivered 158,012 EVs in 2018, up 53 percent from a year earlier, figures from Automotive News China show.

BAIC was the second-largest seller of plug-in vehicles behind BYD in China last year at 229,125, according to figures from Sweden-based market analyst EV-Volumes.

BAIC has no plans to offer Arcfox in the US, the chairman said. ¡°In terms of promoting pure electric vehicles we don¡¯t believe it¡¯s very mature market compared to the European market. It might be a plan in the future but not at the moment,¡± he said.

BAIC is still planning how to sell its cars in Europe. ¡°Personally, I don¡¯t want to support traditional approach wholesale/retail,¡± Heyi said, noting Tesla had recently announced it would switch to an online sales model.

Heyi wouldn¡¯t comment on reports that BAIC is preparing to build an electric Smart for Daimler in China.

Entire contents © Crain Communications, Inc.
Use of editorial content without permission is strictly prohibited. All Rights Reserved.