Zotye have shown off their new pure electric SUV in Shanghai, the most amazing part however is the pricing, which will see the pure electric motor hit the road for 110,980rmb which is a fraction over $16,000USD.
Max power is 27Nm, and can reach a top speed of 110kph and travel for a distance of 300km before needing a recharge. Zotye are also working on a fast recharge system for home use.
This is the first pure electric market ready vehicle from a Chinese manufacturer, now the only problem is that most Chinese people dont have electrical outlets near their car parking spots, but this car will be perfect for government departments and business users who can run power outlets near their car parking spots.
In the week that General Motors filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, ending a century of global dominance, the centre of gravity of the world’s car industry shifted perceptibly towards China. Here, some of the biggest strides in motor engineering are being made, including one shown to The Sunday Times on an industrial estate in Hangzhou, 90 miles southwest of Shanghai. This is where engineers for New Power have beaten western rivals to achieve what they claim is the first production-ready, all-electric car to offer a range comparable to petrol-powered vehicles.
For years, engineers in Europe, America and Japan have struggled to achieve the perfect balance: a battery that is small and light enough to fit in a family car, yet capable of storing enough energy to keep it going for a practical range between top-ups. The Reva G-Wiz, Britain’s bestselling electric vehicle, has a range of no more than 48 miles between charges; the Smart ED, on trial in the UK, beats it by only 14 miles; and although the electric Mini claims a range of 150 miles, it is only a two-seater (the huge battery taking up the back seat), and BMW has no plans to put it into production.
New Power, by contrast, claims to have developed an electric four-seater with a range of 250 miles and plans to bring it to the UK “within the next couple of years”. Known as the Zhong Tai (the name translates roughly as “peace and safety for the people”), it has lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged in 6-8 hours from a conventional socket, or in two hours from a high-power recharging point. With a top speed of 75mph and an estimated price tag of between £16,300 and £20,500 in Britain, the Zhong Tai could be both practical and affordable enough to make drivers part with their internal combustion engines for good.
The Sunday Times was the first western publication to put New Power’s claims to the test. On first impressions the Zhong Tai looked anything but remarkable. The car’s basic bodywork and chassis are based on a 2006 Daihatsu Terios, a compact 4x4, the licence for which was bought and adapted for Chinese production, originally as a petrol car. The electric version looks identical to a conventional Terios from the outside, with the recharging point where the petrol cap should be and only the absence of an exhaust pipe giving the game away.
The interior feels a little dated but that reflects how much standards of comfort have advanced in the past three years. The dashboard display flashed up speed, distance travelled and the percentage charge left in the batteries — 75% when we first stepped into the car.
At New Power’s spartan headquarters, Mao Zhong, the company’s general manager, outlined how his car could “solve the emissions problems” plaguing both China — where the number of cars is predicted to hit 150m by 2020 — and the rest of the world. On paper, it seems astonishing that such a small operation, with a staff of just 30, should have produced China’s first production-ready all-electric car. But the Zhong Tai has been in development for six years, backed by Zotye, a mainstream car maker, of which New Power is a “green” subsidiary.
Chinese industry has put huge efforts into battery development, a fact that was reinforced last month when Volkswagen said it would be collaborating with BYD, a Chinese manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, to develop its first hybrid vehicles.
Still, New Power’s claims of a 250-mile range were remarkable so we were intrigued to find out how the vehicle would perform. Tipping the scales at 1.2 tons, the Zhong Tai sounds like a cumbersome beast. Its battery alone weighs about 660lb. It is housed under the car, although in the model I tried, a further auxiliary battery took up a good proportion of the boot space.
The claimed acceleration rate is 0-60mph in 12sec and the car is, indeed, quite spritely. When I pressed hard on the accelerator, the car leapt from 18mph-54mph in just 5sec, but then alarms started screeching and the engine had to be restarted. There was another worry. Accidentally touching the battery in the boot resulted in a mighty electric shock, although the company insisted this was a minor fault and rectified it within minutes.
And what of that all-important 250-mile range? Unfortunately, we couldn’t cover that distance in the time available for the test but by keeping an eye on the charge monitor it was possible to get an idea as to the veracity of New Power’s claims. At the start of the test the car had a three-quarters charge; 120 miles of reasonably hard driving later, it was showing a 42% charge. Assuming the power meter was accurate and proportional, the company’s claim is not unfeasible.
On an open road, at an average speed of 60mph, the car’s range drops to about 170 miles, according to New Power. Reduce average speed to 48mph and the company claims an average range of 218 miles. In “city driving with stops and starts”, the company reckons it can reach its maximum range of about 250 miles.
The Chinese government has announced plans to set up a 10 billion yuan (£890m) fund to promote alternative energy and is offering generous grants towards the production of electric vehicles, stating that all car companies should be producing one green vehicle by 2011.
The Zhong Tai is set to go into production next year, eventually building towards annual production of 20,000 vehicles. Wu Aibing, public relations director for New Power, claims the company is “in conversations about co-operation for overseas distribution” in the UK and US.
The company has been in touch with Electric Village, a London-based marketing company specialising in electric vehicles, about promoting the car in Britain. “The new vehicle is game-changing in the rapidly emerging electric car sector,” says Stewart McKee, the chief executive of Electric Village. “Hence we are looking at a distribution and sales strategy for the UK market.”
Even if New Power’s reliability and range claims hold up under further testing, there are still question marks about the car’s potential success, particularly in foreign markets.
Chinese exports, such as the Jiang-ling Landwind, a large petrol-powered SUV, have failed European safety tests. Aside from safety, the Zhong Tai’s retro looks may not appeal to image-conscious westerners.
However, with most mainstream European car manufacturers putting off electric car production until 2011 or later, and current options offering a range of no more than about 50 miles, this car could lead the way to a practical all-electric automotive future.
The Chinese are eager to become worldwide leaders in new vehicle technology with much of the focus being directed towards electric cars. Recently, a Chinese company called New Power developed what they claim is the first production ready, electric car with a range similar to a conventional gasoline car.
Most electric cars in the works right now have a range between 50 and 150 miles. New Power claims they have achieved a 250 mile range in the 4 seater car called the Zhong Tai. They plan to bring it to the UK in the next couple of years. The vehicle is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged in as little as 2 hours and can reach a top speed of 75 mph.
New Power plans to market the car in the UK with a price point between $26,000 and $33,000. According to the company, the car would be both practical and affordable for everyone.
With prototypes in the works, the Sunday Times got a chance to drive this breakthrough vehicle. The vehicle is based on a current production model the 2006 Daihatsu Terios compact SUV. According to the reviewer, there was nothing that distinguished this car from the gasoline version on the exterior aside from the charging socket and lack of an exhaust.
The EV has been in the works for 6 years now and the company believes that they are nearing production ready. Here's how there drive went.
With the intent of pushing the car to see if the claimed 250 mile range was indeed true, the Time's driver set out on his journey. Pushing the vehicle hard, he believes that the vehicle reaches the claimed 0-60 mph time of 12 seconds or less. When accelerating quickly from 18 to 54 mph, everything felt fine until the alarms inside the car went off and the engine shut down. A simple restart was needed and they were on their way. While trying to restart the car, someone had mistakenly touched the battery and received a jolt, but the company took care of that problem and the drive resumed.
Reaching the 250 mile ceiling would not be possible during the brief test drive, but the reviewer kept a keen eye on the charge meter. Assuming the meter was accurate, he started with about 75% percent charge, drove for 120 miles, and was left with 44% charge making it reasonable to assume the vehicle could have traveled 250 miles on a full charge.
The 250 mile claim applies only to stop and go driving. At highway speeds, the vehicle can travel 170 mile on a charge.
The Zhong Tai is scheduled for production next year and they hope to eventually sell 20,000 units per year. Currently, New Power is discussing options for selling the vehicle in both the UK and the US.
We will update you if any additional information becomes available.
The Zotye SUV is produced within the Sichuan Province within the XINDADI factory because Zotye is not allowed to buid up an own factory within the Sichuan Province.erik (laofan) said:Can anyone tell me why this Zotye 2008 (official picture) uses the Dadi (Xindadi, Chengdu) logo? Is there any relationship between these factories?