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Street-Legal Chinese Hatchback Now on Sale in U.S.

NEW YORK — Miles Automotive has begun distributing a small, battery-powered Chinese hatchback to a few U.S. dealerships in one of the first salvos from this emerging market.

The Miles ZX40, priced from just under $15,000, is modest enough. The car has a top speed of only 25 mph and a range of 40 miles. But the distributor promises bigger and better things coming in 2007, including a new model — the XS200 — that will have a range of 200 miles, a top speed of 80 mph and a price tag of around $28,500.

The ZX40 started out life years ago as a Japanese minicompact, the Daihatsu Move. It migrated to China, where it is assembled in Tianjin by a subsidiary of auto giant FAW and rebadged as the Xinfu, or Happy Messenger. The electric version is manufactured by another Tianjin-based company, Qingyuan.

Miles Automotive describes the vehicle as "street legal," but the Chinese manufacturer says the target customers are townships, military bases, ports and research institutions.

What this means to you: The ZX40 is not to be confused with ZX Auto, another would-be U.S. distributor of Chinese vehicles made by Zhongxing.
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=116474
 

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I could see such a car working in large cities, but beyond that, it's totally impractical.

Of course, the US market won't like it, because it looks even more dated than it actually is. I kinda like the styling, but then again, my favorite cars (hint: not the Civic) are a couple of boxes. :p
 

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Miles Automotive showed up at the recent Las Vegas North American Dealer Association meeting with a new model, the Javlon XS500. Just as their earlier ZX40S, was a converted Daihatsu Move made by FAW-Tianjin, this model is a converted Saibao III made by Hafei Auto of Harbin.

This time Qingyuan Electric fitted the Pininfarina-designed sedan with a lithium ion battery pack. The vehicle can do 80mph with a range of 150 miles.
I'm wondering if the yet to be unveiled XM200, will be a converted Hafei Saibao V.

I think Qingyuan Electric is on the right track with these body choices.
 

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Miles Automotive sells electric vehicles, manufactured in China

American company Miles Automotive Group is importing Chinese electric vehicles Tianjin Qingyuan Happy Messenger to the United States. The are also offering off-road version which is not street-legal. Cheapest version costs 15.000 USD.

http://www.milesautomotive.com/showroom.php

 

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They are all low speed vehicles for institutional applications, not intended for consumer road use.
 

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Thanks for the great photos Martin....

Miles had shown the Hafei Saibo EV (XS500) at SEMA last year but I didn't know that Miles had included this Hafei light truck in their lineup. Was it at this years show?

The Daihatsu Move that Tianqi produced on its Huali line was used by Tianjin Qingyuan for its EV conversions. These were then sold to Miles Automotive as Happy Messengers (ZX40). But Huali production was closed down after FAW took over. Now this little minicar is produced at FAW's Hongta plant down in Yunnan. Logistics-wise that must be a problem for Qingyuan and I'm not sure how they handle that.

AGR, according to Miles advertisements, the Happy Messengers are street legal. But the question is which streets, right? Perhaps its only the ones with a 30mph limit.
It's interesting because Eurasia Motor's (or DR) efforts to get the minicar homologated in Europe apparently failed.

How about that brushguard at front.......it certainly doesn't match the road clearance.
 

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The cars they sell are manufactured by FAW and Hafei, am I right ?


Where do they get the consent to place their logos on the cars !? I mean, I think that isn't illegal after all ?
 

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Shelburg had hoped to bring in the gas engine Hafei models, not the converted models seen here. But Hafei itself never confirmed any agreements with Shelburg.

In an unrelated development, it looks like the recently reported Hafei-Peugeot tie-up may be pre-empted by a purchase of a major stake in Hafei by Dongfeng. That could change any existing export plans completely.

Another possible agent for the import of Hafei into the U.S. is through its affiliate Wanxiang, the auto parts giant with offices in the U.S..
 

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First China-made electric car to hit U.S. next year.

May 30, 2008 - The first Chinese-made electric-powered car to hit the U.S. market is on its way. The Miles XS500 is "rather nondescript," according to Forbes, but "What's sexy is inside: Under the hood is an electric motor powered by a 700-pound lithium-ion battery." A California-based startup company called Miles Electric Vehicles is importing the car (from China), believing it "is zippy and affordable enough to shake up the auto biz when 4,000 go on sale in as many as 100 dealerships late next year." If it clears legal hurdles, it will be the first Chinese-made electric car to go on sale in the U.S.

The company "aims to sell 30,000 XS500s in 2010 to two-car families that are willing to ditch one gas-powered car or hybrid for an electric vehicle. Its 120-mile range (on normal terrain) might be enough for commuters." It may cost as much as $35,000, though company officials say it will be so much cheaper to own than a gasoline-powered car that it will make the investment worthwhile.

The car has yet to be tested to see if it conforms to American crash standards. Miles Electric officials plan safety upgrades they hope will make the car compatible with U.S. laws. Greentech, however, says "The company already has received more than 10,000 inquiries about buying the vehicle."

So is a Chinese auto invasion upon the Amercans? Industry analysts have expected to see Chinese cars for sale in the U.S. eventually. The recent 2008 Beijing Auto Show featured its usual assortment of (somewhat amusing) blatant knock-offs of western-made cars. But it also offered displays of some serious vehicles that some observers said could almost compete in western markets, all made by domestic Chinese companies.

But Motor Trend says they won't be here anytime soon. "Perhaps the best way to make sense of China's own-brand automakers is to apply simple math," MT writes. "Last year, they sold just over 1.5 million vehicles in their home market -- a total market share of less than 20 percent, divided among 24 nameplates. Imagine 24 nameplates fighting for the slice of the market GM owns here in the U.S. It just doesn't add up." They conclude: Make no mistake, the Chinese automakers are coming, but maybe not soon.
source: U.S. News
 

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Humm...that remark by Motor Trend doesn't make solid sense. Chinese made cars will enter the U.S. before too long and there are some savvy consumers to be found in the U.S. who would pick a BYD e6 over a Chevy Volt.

Just because there's 24 nameplates doesn't confuse the fact that gas prices are going up and the American domestic car makers are not answering the call for alternative-energy powered cars.

I think the Chinese makers, if aggressive and smart enough, could penetrate the U.S. car market with a bang if they want to badly enough. I eagerly await their arrival.
 

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Re: Miles Automotive sells electric vehicles, manufactured in China

AGR said:
They are all low speed vehicles for institutional applications, not intended for consumer road use.
Wrong I own one and it works fine and is street legal.

Top speed is 26mph on flat ground, lumbers from 20-26mph but speeds up relatively quickly from 0-20.

One question though, does anyone here actually have contacts in China? This vehicle still has the original 4 speed manual transmission and clutch from the gas engine. It has the shifting stick and clutch pedal disconnected and removed and the transmission is locked into 2nd gear which is what restricts the speed to roughly 25mph.

For speed and power purposes I would like to reinstall the shifter and the clutch pedal and linkage.

Anyone here speak chinese that could ask the manufacturer what all I would need to steel from a daihtsu mini truck to complete my transmission reenable? Any way I could buy the parts here in the US? It looks like I need to do the followign

1. Unlock the transmission
2. Install the linkage to the shifting stick
3. INstall the shifting stick where the drink holder is
4. Install the clutch cable
5. Install the clutch pedal
6. Install the associated bracketry

Thank You for any sources or information
Ryan
 

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Re: Miles Automotive sells electric vehicles, manufactured in China

Why don't you contact the daihatsu brand directly?
I am used to work with daihatsu, if you want i can give you the contacts from the Portuguese importer, but i would recomend the dutch importer.
good luck
 

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Re: Miles Automotive sells electric vehicles, manufactured in China

I have not been able to contact Daihatsu directly (no line to china)

I have tried other english speaking branches of theirs and all have said the vehicle was not imported into their market and therefore could not help.

Anyone here have any idea how I would reenable the transmission?

It has a 4 speed from a normal Daihtsu move

If someone can email them for me or PM me with the information it would be appreciated

Thanx
Ryan
 
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