(Reporting by Zhang Yan and Brinda Goh; Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Tom Hogue
Chinese company Li Auto will begin mass production of its first fully electric car in February
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Li Auto (2015.HK) said on Friday it would begin mass production and deliveries of its first pure electric vehicle in February, as the rising Chinese automaker bets on fast-charging technology to solve range anxiety among electric vehicle users.
Li Auto said its MEGA multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), with a waterdrop-shaped front design, will be equipped with an 800-volt charging structure and Chinese battery giant CATL’s latest Qilin batteries (300750.SZ). The company said this integration will give the Mega a range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) on a 12-minute charge.
Li Auto, which has already begun taking pre-orders in China for the new model with an estimated price tag of less than 600,000 yuan ($83,000), also touted the low air resistance of the broadcast design, which reduces power consumption and extends driving range.
Chinese media began reporting the planned launch earlier this month, and Shi Jie, an analyst for China Merchants International Securities Bank, said in a note last week that Li Auto expects a monthly sales volume of 5,000 units or higher for MEGA.
This would put Li Auto at the top of the full-size SUV segment now led by Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE), which is targeting its Vito model at business users with average monthly sales of 1,400 units.
Li Auto declined to comment on its monthly sales target.
“Li Auto’s MEGA will become the best choice for cars priced above 500,000 yuan for family users, and it is the model with the highest sales among cars in this price range for all types and volumes of fuel,” the company said.
The MEGA MPV will be the first model to be manufactured at Li Auto’s Beijing plant, which has a design capacity of 100,000 units per year.
Founded in 2015, Li Auto offers four range-extended hybrid SUVs priced above 300,000 yuan and designed for family users. It ranked seventh in terms of sales volume in the first ten months of this year among manufacturers of electric and hybrid cars in China, and did not reveal any plans to sell its cars abroad.
The company recorded net income of 2.82 billion yuan in the third quarter and revenue of 34.68 billion yuan.
($1 = 7.2441 yuan)
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