Chinese car maker Changan announced today that it will launch electric cars in Canada before the end of 2008. The cars, developed jointly with Canadian company Electrovaya, could be the first sold by a Chinese company in North America.
The fleet of 30 electric vehicles (EVs) have been under development since May, and are based on one of Changan’s exisiting compact models, the BenBen, fitted with an Electrovaya powertrain. For the time being, the cars will be assembled and distributed in Canada, but in the long term Changan intends to develop the EVs entirely in China, before shipping to North America.
Changan has not yet released any news on price. However, the gas-powered BenBen currently retails in China for anywhere between US$4,500 and 6,000, so it’s quite possible that the EV version will be very affordable. In terms of timescale, it is likely that the company will be keen to ramp up production as soon as possible in a bid to consolidate its position in the lucrative, but fiercely competitive North American Market.
They will also be keeping a close eye on Chinese rivals Build Your Dreams (BYD Auto), which has already signed up ten distributors for its Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) as part of plans to enter the European market by 2010.
Image Credit – Autoblog Italy