NEVS’ chairman Jiang Dalong spoke to Reuters about the deal with Panda and the future of electric vehicles. While I want to take out a few interesting excerpts you can read the full article here.
“China is going to be the world’s biggest market for electric cars,” Jiang said in an interview in his office in Beijing. “China has no choice. They have to wean themselves from conventional gasoline combustion cars,” he added, describing the recent sharp uptick in air pollution levels in China’s capital as “terrible” and “crazy”.
“Big existing automakers are too big. They cannot stop producing conventional gasoline combustion cars. But we can … switch to new energy cars.”
In general I have to agree with him here. For China it’s of course the issue of air pollution but also, according to some calculations that I read a while ago, if China would reach a car per people ratio that is close to for example Europe, they would need the entire world production of gasoline and diesel to run those cars. So currently the way the Chinese government wants to take is electromobility and it can’t be a fault to be part of it.
The biggest question mark is Chinese economy which seems to be in some difficult times the moment. But given the long term of this investment I would not judge it just from today. China may not grow at a rate like they did in the last decade but they will get back to a path that is solid.
Then it’s about the Panda deal and its financing:
Panda New Energy, which is funded by a Beijing investment fund called Hasun Asset, won’t have to pony up the whole US$12 billion for the cars, according to Jiang and Panda’s Sun Wei.
The two executives said Panda New Energy will pay NEVS for the cars from a four-to-five-year stream of revenue it expects from leasing those 250,000 EVs. All Panda New Energy will have to come up with is a deposit as little as 10 percent, Jiang said.
Panda New Energy initially expects to receive an all-electric minibus that seats 38 passengers and an electric commercial van. Jiang said production of the minibus and the MPV cars are due to start gradually in 2016 at the Tianjin factory, which he said is already half-completed.
Over the next four to five years, Panda New Energy will buy 50,000 minibuses and 50,000 courier vans, Jiang said. Sun said courier service companies in China ,such as one run by 58.com, will use the commercial vans.
The rest of the deal – 150,000 vehicles – are all EVs based on the Saab 9-3, a sedan. Panda New Energy plans to lease them to taxi-like chauffeur service companies.
So there we have at least a little more info on who stands behind Panda New Energy. And, even more interesting, we get to know that the deal is not only about the 150 9-3 EVs but also about other vehicles that most likely won’t be based on a Saab. While we most likely don’t want to drive them this means business that in the end can generate revenue for the plans that NEVS have for their own car lineup.
Altogether this is not a major boost in information but still at least a bit more insight into the deal.