Green Acres for China's EVs

Bloomberg Businessweek|August 03, 2020

Green Acres for China's EVs
Automakers are targeting drivers outside big cities for cheaper electric models

China buys more electric vehicles than any other country, and most sales occur in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. EV buyers there can afford to spend 300,000 yuan ($43,000) on a sedan like the Tesla Model 3.

Fang Yunzhou, chairman of one of Tesla Inc.’s local rivals, has a different customer in mind: a consumer who lives in a less affluent small city or even a farmer in the countryside. “Our goal is to provide a real product affordable for the whole market, rather than a rich kid’s toy,” he says.

Fang, 45, is the founder of Hozon New Energy Automobile Co., a 6-year-old EV maker backed by local governments in eastern China’s Zhejiang province and one of a handful of companies that want to expand the market for EVs. Hozon is betting there’s a path to profitability in selling inexpensive battery-powered autos in China’s flyover territory. The price of Hozon’s first SUV, the Nezha N01, starts at less than 67,000 yuan. In early July the company began delivery of another SUV, starting at about 140,000 yuan, that can travel more than 250 miles on a single charge.

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August 03, 2020