Another Chinese Company is 'Planning to Sell' an Electric Luxury Car in the U.S.
If you don’t remember Hybrid Kinetic Group, that’s because it nearly vanished from western news after promising to build a 1.5 billion dollar factory in Alabama for its $300,000 hybrid-electric. That factory, planned in 2009, ended up being unable to secure financing after receiving some state-sponsored help to get the ball rolling. It’s a similar story to what happened to a company, ran by the former CEO of China’s Brilliance Auto, in Mississippi and the contemporary situation with Faraday Future in Nevada. In the case of Hybrid Kinetic, the firm managed to secure some visas and financial aid from Alabama before pulling out of the United States in 2011 — presumably never to be heard from again.
However, earlier this month, HK made an appearance at the Geneva International Motor Show with a car that it now says it fully anticipates selling on the American market. The sedan is the result of a 68 million dollar deal with Italian design house Pininfarina to assist the Chinese company in producing a handsome and — more importantly — real electric luxury vehicle for the global marketplace.
This car isn’t real, though. It’s a concept that is, according to the company, “85 to 90 percent” representative of a production model. The H600 is a hybrid luxury sports sedan using a microturbine generator as a range-extender and a claimed 0-62 mph speed of only 2.9 seconds. Power is rated, again by the company, at 600kW/804 hp while the lightweight aluminum chassis keeps the vehicle at a trim — for an battery pack laden EV — 4,123 pounds.
HK hasn’t given any further mechanical details and it’d be difficult to know what to trust anyway, but the car certainly looks lovely thanks to Pininfarina diversifying its client base.
As for the H600 entering production and heading to North America, HK board member Carter Yeung told Automotive News the company will make its cars in China after a trial production run at Pininfarina’s Italian plant. From there it will see a simultaneous launch in the U.S. and China between 2019 and 2020.
When asked about HK’s utter failure to deliver on the Alabama factory, Yeung responded “We’re always going to make mistakes. It’s how you recover from those that defines how this company will be run in the future.”
“A lot of Chinese companies over-promise and under-deliver. We’re going to be the opposite,” he said.
So far, so good.
[Images: Hybrid Kinetic Group]
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You had me at: "We’re always going to make mistakes."
Big picture: the existing automakers had a huge head start (like 100+ years in some cases) on the Chinese in producing cars powered by internal combustion engines. EVs? Different ballgame. The field was leveled for them, and I'm sure they intend to take full advantage.