NEVS in Trollhättan received a delegation this weekend from their largest customer to date: Panda New Energy. Its owner and chairman Chao Ma visited the SAAB Museum and took part in several meetings at the Stallbacka factory. The company confirmed that they are committed to a long-term partnership with NEVS and that they are interested in many more cars than the 150,000 SAAB 9-3-based EV’s they ordered already, including EV’s based on the entirely new Phoenix 3.x platform.
Mega-order just a start?
Speaking with regional newspaper TTELA, Chao Ma stated that his company is capitalizing on the three most important issues China’s government is trying to address: oil scarcity, abundance of electricity and massive air pollution. Panda New Energy’s order is valued around EUR 10B and consists of 150,000 SAAB 9-3-based EV’s, several services, 50,000 EV mini-buses and 50,000 EV mini-vans.
Painted chassis for the 9-3-based EV’s will be manufactured in Trollhättan and further assembly will take place in the new factory in Tianjin. The other 100,000 EV’s will also be produced in China, together with local partners. A very significant order already, but there is a clear appetite for more: “For me it doesn’t make a difference if we’re talking 100,000 cars or a million”, says Chao Ma. Panda New Energy has paid one year in advance now but will be paying for the cars as they are delivered between 2017-2020.
The Phoenix is rising
NEVS president Mattias Bergman confirmed to TTELA that the Stallbacka factory is being adapted at the moment, among others to allow the production of the floors for the batteries. In addition, more production staff will be recruited around summer time so that deliveries can start in autumn.
While the first 150,000 EV’s to Panda New Energy and the 20,000 to Huateng will be based on the MY14 SAAB 9-3 platform, Bergman confirmed to TTELA that EV’s based on the newly developed Phoenix platform are planned to be ready in 2018.
In several media, the term “Phoenix” has been used, yet it’s important to distinguish the different flavours, as they fundamentally differ from each other:
- Phoenix 1.x = MY14 SAAB 9-3 based, including NEVS’ own adaptations for EV’s.
- Phoenix 2.0 = Work that was started by SAAB Automobile AB, not EV-compatible.
- Phoenix 3.x = The newly developed EV platform, offering flexibility in length, width and height.
So, both the first Chinese orders and the license agreement with Turkish TÜBITAK are based on Phoenix 1.x.
The Phoenix 2.0 platform didn’t get further real-life applications, apart from the PhoeniX concept car (not to be confused with the name of the platform itself), and a few prototypes developed under SAAB Automobile between 2010-2011.
The next big leap in development is Phoenix 3.0, the EV platform NEVS has been working on since 2012. The 3.x platform is said to offer unprecedented flexibility in length, width and height, providing the basis for the four different models NEVS announced almost a month ago and that are expected to be launched from 2018 in several markets around the world.
Agreements are followed through
On Monday, Mattias Bergman confirmed to Swedish Radio that the agreements with the two new shareholders SRIT and the city of Tianjin they made earlier last year are now final. A new emission of shares was registered at Bolagsverket over the weekend and Bergman confirmed that the city of Tianjin had paid an outstanding amount of USD 60M and that both shareholders have now fullfilled their financial obligations. According to Bergman, the city of Tianjin now owns 30%, IT company SRIT 27% and the remaining 43% is owned by NEVS’ founder Kai Johan Jiang.