We can finally say it – the SAAB is officially (spiritually) back, as NEVS has started production of the all-electric 9-3 sedan at its newly constructed factory in Tianjin, China. This is seen by the company as an important step in its plan to “shape mobility for a more sustainable future.”
The new vehicle is basically a rebadged 9-3 sedan with electric powertrain and some visual improvements. However, it won’t feature the SAAB badge anymore, as NEVS lost the rights to the name and logo of the once famous marque due to financial difficulties. Initially, the manufacturer wants to assemble 50,000 vehicles annually, but once the plant is working at full capacity, this number should raise to 220,000 examples per year.
NEVS has already received thousands of pre-orders for its new product from various companies in China, and has signed an impressive $12 billion strategic collaboration agreement with electric car leasing company Panda New Energy for some 150,000 cars. The automaker also has a deal with the Turkish government allowing it to use the new 9-3 intellectual property rights.
The first electric vehicle from NEVS has a maximum range of 186 miles (300 kilometers), but, unfortunately, no other technical details are available at the moment. The future EVs of the company will use what it calls second- and third-generation electric powertrains, and will be developed in cooperation with DiDi, the world’s “leading one-stop diversified mobility platform,” and GEICO (Global Energy Interconnectivity Corporation), which will help with the infrastructure and the sharing services platform.
As far as we know, NEVS’ next production electric vehicle will be based on the current SAAB-sourced architecture and will basically be a modernized version of the old SAAB 9-3X with electric propulsion. Eventually, the Chinese manufacturer will build a “product portfolio of electric vehicles and mobility services globally,” but at this point it’s not clear whether it will develop its own underpinnings or will adapt the Phoenix platform, created by Swedish engineers before SAAB’s bankruptcy.
Gallery: NEVS 9-3 production start in China
On December 5, 2017, as the NEVS 9-3 electric rolls off the production line, NEVS Tianjin project kicks off production, marking a new stage moving from development into industrialization. This is an important milestone in implementing the NEVS vision to shape mobility for a more sustainable future and the start to delivery of EVs to our partners.
The installed annual product capacity is 50,000 electric vehicles in Phase I of the Project, and 220,000 is the plan for phase II.
NEVS are working with 3 generations of EVs with innovation and development centers in both China and Sweden. The second and third generation will be developed in close co-operation with DiDi. As the automobile industry is quickly changing, not only from conventional cars to EVs, but also into vehicles without a driver and serving new business models where our customers want to use the car but not own it.
NEVS Chairman Kai Johan Jiang has been the architect behind the new partnership with DiDi and Global Energy Interconnection that gradually grows into the world’s biggest NEV service platform and functions to promote changes in green mobility pattern.
As the world’s leading one-stop diversified mobility platform, DiDi predicts there will be 1 million electric cars running on its platform by 2020. As a major partner, NEVS will provide DiDi with cost-effective high-end EVs. Meanwhile, NEVS and DiDi will carry out in-depth technological cooperation on Autonomous Driving.
Furthermore, DiDi, GEICO (Global Energy Interconnectivity Corporation) and NEVS have initiated a Joint Venture called GNEVS (Global New Energy Vehicle Service Company) who will provide services and infrastructure to the increasing Mobility on Demand Electric Vehicles. This structure will facilitate the infrastructure and service for our EV customers and provide customer value to the mobility on demand Providers and Users, as well as for the city planners.