We reported last week that Zotye Auto, based in Zhejiang, had started leasing pure-electric cars to individual customers in the city of Hangzhou. While not knowing how many vehicles have been delivered, we hear from Zotye that it is extending its EV sales network to other cities such as Shenzhen and Shanghai, and aims to sell/lease 3,000 units by the end of this year.
Currently, two models are on the market: 2008EV and 5008EV. They have the same battery packs and electric motor, and seem different from each other only in exterior styling (for specifications and photos of 2008EV, please click here). The Chinese government subsidizes EVs based on their battery capacities: 3,000 yuan per kWh but no more than 60,000 yuan for each pure-electric car and 50,000 yuan for each plug-in hybrid (the money is paid directly to the EV maker rather than the buyer). Since a 2008/5008 EV carries battery packs of 25 kWh, it will get the maximum amount of 60,000 yuan. According to Zotye, a subsidized 5008EV sells for 108,000 yuan.
The pic: Zotye 2008EV
To further lower the price tag, Zotye is going to release a model with a smaller, 16 kWh battery capacity. It will have a shorter range, but sell only for 50,000 yuan after receiving a subsidy of 48,000 yuan.
In another attempt to attract more buyers, Zotye is working with State Grid on a battery-swapping EV project, which would allow consumers to lease batteries from battery-swap stations run by State Grid and buy the EV-minus-batteries from Zotye at low prices.
Zotye currently has a capacity to produce 20,000 EVs a year. Aiming to be an industry leader, it plans to spend 2 billion yuan in the next few years, as reported by some Chinese media, on building a new factory which will boost that capacity to 100,000 units a year.