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Xiaopeng Says it Scored $350 Million in Extra Funding, $800 Million Total

Xiaopeng Says it Scored $350 Million in Extra Funding, $800 Million Total

Investors include Alibaba and Foxconn

Xiaopeng Motors, also known as Xpeng, first made waves at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show with the introduction of the G3, an all-electric SUV that it’s planning to release later this year to combat the Tesla Model X. Now, the latest in a litany of Chinese electric car startups is dreaming of a bigger piece of the electric car market, and according to the South China Morning Post, it has accumulated a fresh batch of investments totalling $350 million. All told, the company says it has received around $800 million in funding from investors like Chinese e-commerce colossus Alibaba and iPhone manufacturer Foxconn.

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GAC Could Make its U.S. Launch Via FCA Dealerships

GAC Could Make its U.S. Launch Via FCA Dealerships

This partnership could benefit both sides

For those who were surprised to see GAC Motors at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, don’t be. The Chinese automaker has made plans to enter the U.S. market known. Now it looks like it may have found a door to enter, one that’s being opened by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. A report from The New York Times revealed that the automakers are in discussions on a partnership that will allow FCA dealerships to sell GAC models in the US as early as 2019.

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China's GAC Motor is Bringing Compact Sedan andElectric Concept to the Detroit Auto Show

China’s GAC Motor is Bringing Compact Sedan andElectric Concept to the Detroit Auto Show

U.S. sales are slated to begin in 2019

Rumors about certain Chinese carmakers planning to come to the U.S. have been flying around for years, but nothing has happened as of early 2018. However, there are signs that we may soon get vehicles made in Asia. Trumpchi, a brand owned by GAC Group, is supposed to begin selling an SUV in North America in 2019, while GAC itself has already tested U.S. waters with a couple of concepts at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Fast forward 12 months and GAC is bringing another batch of new vehicles to Detroit.

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China Government Bans 553 Cars Because Pollution

China Government Bans 553 Cars Because Pollution

Strong-arming the death of fossil fuels 553 cars at a time…

It’s no secret that China has some of the worst air pollution in the world even with a huge improvement over the last year. And, the Chinese government thinks it can make it even better. It all starts with the banning of 553 vehicle models that don’t meet fuel consumption standards. We have yet to see a full list of specific vehicles that have been banned, but we do know they include models from Chevy, Audi, and Mercedes Benz – models like the Audi FV7145LCDBG sedan (Audi A1,) Mercedes BJ302ETAL2 sedan, and Chevy’s SGM7161DAA2 sedan (Similar to a Chevy Aveo). The production ban will commence on January 1st, 2018 according to the China Vehicle Technology Sevice Center and is the first official ban on specific vehicles in the country.

Wang Liushend, an analyst at China Merchants Securities, said, “To emphasize a cut back on energy consumption, such documents will surface frequently in the future. It’s an essential move to ensure the healthy development of the industry in the long run.”

As far as the number of vehicles actually produced in China, your guess is as good as ours, but according to the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, Cui Dongshu, those 553 models account for a “very small” percentage. Of course, vehicles are a very small part of China’s pollution problem, with air quality typically getting much worth in the winter months, as such, the country has worked tirelessly to switch homes from coal to natural gas heating and it has even reduced steel production by as much as 50 percent in some areas.

In the end, this ban might help the country a little bit, however, it’s a long road to travel, and you can surely expect the country to initialize more bans in the future. It has even said that it would like to jump on the wagon of banning vehicles powered by fossil fuel at some point – much like France and the U.K. have aimed to do by 2040. Is this what we can expect in the future. Will more countries, including the U.S. begin strong-arming automakers to quit producing certain vehicles? Is the move away from fossil fuels happening too soon? Are we really ready to go fossil fuel free in the next 20 years? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Fastest Selling Car in History is.... the Lynk & Co 01

Fastest Selling Car in History is.... the Lynk & Co 01

Pre-orders of 6,000 units took less than three minutes to fill up

From a mysterious start-up a year ago to a record-breaking company today, Lynk & Co is living it up in the auto industry. The Geely-owned car brand that prides itself more on being a connected and sharable mobility brand than a traditional automaker has made headlines for receiving 6,000 orders for the 01 SUV, all in a span of 137 seconds. The record sales event occurred after Lynk & Co’s first online store started pre-selling the 01 SUV on November 17. What was supposed to be a three-day sales event took less than three minutes to complete, a startling pace for a company that only has one model in its portfolio, and is itself barely a year old.

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FCA Could Be Bought by a Chinese Automaker

FCA Could Be Bought by a Chinese Automaker

Four Chinese brands reportedly looking to score a deal

Formed in 2014, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) alliance has been doing very good these past three years, which is why Sergio Marchionne is on the lookout to either sell the company or make another merger with a big brand. FCA was refused by General Motors back in 2015 and Marchionne’s attempts to find a new collaboration have been unsuccessful so far. However, it seems that FCA is actually on the brink of finding a new owner. According to new reports, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has received at least one offer in August from a "well-known Chinese automaker."

That’s the word from Automotive News, which claims that the over was slightly higher than FCA’s current market value, but the Italian-American alliance rejected it for not being enough. There’s no detailed information as to what Chinese automaker made the offer, but speculation has it that FCA is negotiating with more than one company. Also, a source close to FCA said that company executives have traveled to China to meet with Great Wall Motor Co., while different sources claim talks with Dongfeng Motor Corp., Zhejiang Geely, and Guangzhou Automobile Group.

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Chinese Automaker Brings Three Cars to Detroit, Announces U.S. Market Assault

Chinese Automaker Brings Three Cars to Detroit, Announces U.S. Market Assault

First U.S.-spec models could arrive as soon as 2018!

Rumors of Chinese carmakers preparing to start selling vehicles in the U.S. have been floating around for quite a few years, but it has yet to happen as of early 2017. However, with Qoros having already launched its products in Europe and with other companies rolling out increasingly better cars, that specific moment seems to be getting closer. How closer is the U.S. to welcoming a Chinese brand? Well, visitors at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show just witnessed the first automaker from the world’s most populous country display the vehicles it plans to launch in North America.

The company in question is GAC Motor, a large automotive group that sells passenger cars under the Trumpchi brand, cars and commercial vehicles under the Gonow brand, and SUVs as Changfeng Motor. GAC also runs joint-ventures with Fiat, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Toyota in China, building the Dodge Dart-based Fiat Viaggio and Toyota Camry, among other cars, for the Chinese market.

At the 2017 Detroit Motor Show, GAC decided to showcase its U.S.-bound models using the Trumpchi brand (cue the Donald Trump jokes!) Established in 2010, Trumpchi launched its first vehicle, a sedan based on the old Alfa Romeo 166 (discontinued in 2007), ahead of the 2010 Asian Games. Since then, the brand also introduced a hatchback and a couple of crossovers. Interestingly enough, Trumpchi has already made its debut on U.S. soil, having showcased a hybrid sedan at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. This time around, the Chinese brand brought no fewer than three cars to Cobo Center.

Trumpchi’s lineup for the show included the GS7 crossover, the EnSpirit plug-in hybrid concept, and the GE3 electric hatchback. All three cars boast modern exterior designs and some of them even have a few unique features, but nothing very impressive to talk about. The GS7 looks like the kind of boxy crossover some American’s may buy, while the EnSpirit has a sportier design. Then there’s the GE3 EV, which blends traditional small crossover cues with the looks of a kei car, which isn’t a very fortunate combination to be honest.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any actual details about these vehicles available right now, but only the GS7 appears to be ready for production, with both the EnSpirit and GE3 still in concept form. However, GAC did say that it’s planning to release its vehicles in the North American market in 2018, "after the market survey, obtaining certification and regulation and communicating with potential dealers."

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Faraday Future to Debut Production-Ready Car at CES 2017

Faraday Future to Debut Production-Ready Car at CES 2017

We’re only a few months away from the big reveal

Faraday Future has confirmed that its very first production-ready offering will finally drop cover this January at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Confirmation comes via a recent tweet issued by Faraday, in which the up-and-coming automaker gives a short breakdown of the company’s history, finally concluding with the phrase “We unveil the future. #CES2017.”

Included in the tweet is mention of the company’s first design study, the FFZERO1 Concept, and its recent partnership in the Formula E racing series. The tweet arrives on the heels of a comment made by Jia Yueting, CEO at LeEco, at a recent product launch in which the Chinese billionaire mentioned that CES would be a good place for Faraday to reveal its new electric vehicle.

LeEco is a Chinese consumer product firm involved in smartphones, TV’s, bicycles, and Internet video streaming, to name just a few of the company’s numerous interests. Included in the list is financial backing for Faraday Future, an upstart electric vehicle company based out of Gardena, California.

In related news, Faraday is currently looking to build a $1 billion dollar factory in the desert north of Las Vegas, but construction has yet to begin. When completed, the factory is anticipated to house some 4,500 employees.

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Techrules is on a Mission to Keep Performance Cars Relevant

Techrules is on a Mission to Keep Performance Cars Relevant

Searching for an alternative to the go-fast status quo

No doubt about it – the world of high-performance automobiles is in a state of flux. At the center of the evolution is the car’s beating heart – its engine. You hear the question all the time: what will power our fun four-wheeled machines when internal combustion falls by the wayside? Everyone is placing their bets, including all the major automakers, which are currently exploring a variety of answers in the hopes of getting the jump on the future. However, Techrules, an automotive research and development firm based in China, says it has the solution – turbine-recharging electric vehicles, or TREV’s for short.

According to a recent report from Car Buzz, Techrules says its unique turbine system is “lighter, more compact and easier to package than a conventional internal combustion engine.” Not only that, but the system can apparently find application “in any kind of vehicle,” including motorcycles.

The system works by using gas-powered turbines to generate electricity. The juice is then routed to a battery pack, which in turn motivates the electric motors that move the wheels. The whole system sounds vaguely similar to a series hybrid vehicle, but with a turbine engine replacing the reciprocating pistons of a traditional ICE.

That means you get lots of the benefits you’d normally associate with hybrid vehicles, including highly efficient gas usage and no recharge times at an outlet. You can still plug-in if you want to make sure your battery is topped off, but as long as you have fuel, you’ve got go.

Make that a lot of go. Techrules claims this set-up allows for blistering acceleration and speed, as evidenced by the AT96 TREV Concept in attendance at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Apparently, the turbine-equipped hybrid produces 1,030 horsepower and 6,300 pound-feet of torque, blessing it with a 0-to-62 mph time of 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 217 mph. That’s on top of 31 miles of all-electric range and 50 mpg, by the way.

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Ssangyong Making A Push To Enter U.S. Market

Ssangyong Making A Push To Enter U.S. Market

A tentative timetable has been set for 2020

Ssangyong is making a push to enter the US market by 2020 and it’s bringing two small SUVs with it. That much was bared by the company’s very own CEO, Choi Johng-sik, who told Automotive News that the Korean automaker’s plans to introduce an updated version of the Tivoli subcompact crossover and the a new version of the Koran compact crossover. Both models are expected to arrive in the US with four-wheel drive when they hit the market in a few year’s time.

The company’s decision to enter the US market comes at a time when the Mahindra-owned company is slowly getting back on solid footing after years of failing to turn a profit. In fact, according to Choi, Ssangyong is expected to break even this year, the first time it isn’t hitting the red since 2001. It’s also on the verge of introducing a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines that will both be used by US-bound versions of the Tivoli and the Korando. One of the engines is a 1.5-liter engine that can produce 162 horsepower while the other is a bigger 2.0-liter unit that’s good for as much as 220 horsepower.

It’s still unclear how Ssangyong plans to package both models when they arrive in the US, but with the crossover/SUV market being as competitive as it is in this part of the world, the company is gearing up to ensure that it isn’t in over its head when it finally makes its debut in the US.

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Geely Set To Launch New Lynk & Co. Auto Brand

Geely Set To Launch New Lynk & Co. Auto Brand

New company wants to be the "Zara of the automotive world"

Chinese auto giant Geely is preparing to take the hybrid and plug-in hybrids by storm when it launches Lynk & Co., its first full-scale global auto brand. Described as an “affordable premium brand,” Lynk & Co. is going to be positioned as a fresh alternative to the growing market of high-mobility brands led by Tesla.

Details behind the company are likely to be announced when the brand is launched on October 20, 2016, but it is expected to focus its attention on being an industry leader in mobility, hybrid technology, and down the road, electrification. The objective, it seems, is to not only offer its future models in the U.S. and Europe, but to actually become as big a player as Tesla.

It’s an ambitious goal, but from at least one aspect, Lynk & Co. has the advantage of having a company like Geely backing it up. Money is unlikely to be an issue as the new brand gets off the ground. Same with resources and manpower since Geely operates large facilities in China and Sweden and can tap Volvo’s own engineers and their industry know-how to build and develop its models.

Then again, the new brand will no doubt face its own challenges, not the least of which is the automatic burden of convincing customers to buy into what it’s selling. In any event, we should get more details about Lynk & Co. when Geely officially launches the brand later this month.

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NextEV Teases All-Electric Hypercar, Promises 1,360 Horsepower

NextEV Teases All-Electric Hypercar, Promises 1,360 Horsepower

Limited edition exotic is scheduled to make its debut in November

All-electric hypercars are popping up everywhere and it seems that even Chinese startups are getting in on the fun. The latest to join the craze is NextEV, a Chinese-based electric car maker that’s probably best known for fielding its own team in the Formula E championship. Now, the company is prepared to dive deep into the all-electric hypercar world with a model that will reportedly carry in excess of 1,360 horsepower.

Details about the car have yet to be revealed, but according to a source close to Electrek, its 1,360-horsepower output will help it sprint from 0 to 62 mph in less than three seconds. It also doesn’t have a name yet, although there’s no question that with its expected power and performance numbers, it’ll belong to a rarefied list of hypercars that include the Rimac Concept One S and the Koenigsegg One:1, among others.

An advanced design sketch of the car has also been released, showing an incredibly aggressive look that adds credence to its all-electric hypercar presentation. It certainly looks expensive, which is what I expect it to be given that it’s being touted to compete against million-dollar hypercars of similar status.

The good news is that NextEV isn’t your typical ambitious automotive startup that’s promising the world but has very little backing it up. The company is well funded by Chinese tech tycoons and the all-electric hypercar is just a part of a bigger and longer-term goal of producing mass-market EV cars. It also has a $465 million electric vehicle factory lined up as part of an agreement it made with the Nanjing Municipal Government in China and it features some experienced and influential people leading the charge, including former Cisco and Motorola CTO Padmasree Warrior and former Tesla executive Kurt Thywissen.

The all-electric hypercar is expected to be revealed in November 2016, at which point we expect more details to arrive about this intriguing project.

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Chinese Startup Gets $1 Billion Funding To Build Four-Door Sports EV

Chinese Startup Gets $1 Billion Funding To Build Four-Door Sports EV

Should we start getting excited about what LeEco can do now that it has the money?

A Chinese startup company named LeEco has raised a staggering $1.08 billion in its effort to put its LeSEE electric car concept into production. In a statement, LeEco’s parent company, Le Holdings Co., was able to secure the funding through investments made by a handful of companies, including Legend Holdings Corp., Yinga Capital Management Co., and China Minsheng Trust.

The funding is expected to be used in the development of the LeSEE, a concept that was first brought into our attention in 2015 as a four-door sports coupe that will be powered by electric technology. No details have been bared about the car other than its prototype looks and its purported top speed of 130 mph.

LeEco founder Jia Yeuting has been spearheading the development of the prototype LeSEE with the objective of offering it to a Chinese market that has embraced the advent of electric vehicles in the wake of stricter emissions regulations in the country.

It’s unclear how LeEco will plan to use the funding it has received, but considering that Jia admitted that financing was the biggest problem the company had getting its EV venture off the ground, that won’t be a problem for the company anymore.

Expect to hear more about the LeEco and its LeSEE electric car concept in the near future. The company has already made bold proclamations with plans to sell 400,000 units per year and that its four-door coupe will be better than the Model S in "every area."

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Volkswagen And JAC Sign MOU For Joint Collaboration Of EVs In China

Volkswagen And JAC Sign MOU For Joint Collaboration Of EVs In China

Landmark agreement could turn into a massive deal for both sides

In the midst of all the issues plaguing the company right now, the Volkswagen Group is still finding time to wheel and deal with new partners in an effort to further expand its business empire. The latest example of this comes as the German auto conglomerate has signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Anhui Jianghuai Automobile, more commonly known as JAC in the auto industry, for a possible joint venture centered around developing electric vehicles for the Chinese market.

Specific details surrounding the partnership, including the investment size and business model of the possible joint venture, have yet to be revealed because no formal deals have been signed. The MOU, as it stands now, is also not legally binding until a final agreement is signed and approved by relevant bodies. According to Automotive News Europe, a formal agreement isn’t expected for another five months.

The German automaker did say in a press release that both parties intend to enter discussions on partnerships involving a variety of avenues, including research and development, manufacturing, sales, and zero-emission mobility services.

The two companies also plan to enter into a joint venture to develop, build, and sell electric vehicles in the Chinese market, a potentially lucrative arrangement for both Volkswagen and JAC given the growing popularity of electric vehicles in the market – sales of electric and plug-in hybrid models quadrupled in the country in 2015 and has no signs of slowing down – and the Chinese government openly embracing the models and pushing for consumers to buy them.

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Giugiaro To Design Chinese Supercar

Giugiaro To Design Chinese Supercar

Famed Italian design to pen his first supercar in more than a decade

Giorgetto Giugiaro, one of Italy’s most famous automobile designers, will help design a supercar for startup Chinese company Techrules. The new project, which aims to create a production version of the GT96 concept shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, also includes designer Fabrizio Giugiaro and engineering and production specialist L.M. Gianetti.

Techrules’ first production model is set to debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show next March. "Techrules and its partners will be finalizing the supercar’s development and fine-tuning its manufacturing processes" by then, the company said in a statement.

"The level of interest in our technology and our next-generation electric cars proves that we have a formula that can make a major impact," Techrules chairman William Jin added, without providing details as to when the supercar will hit the marked and how many will be built.

The GT96 concept features a turbine-recharging powertrain that uses a micro-turbine to generate electricity to charge a battery pack. The latter powers the six motors that send 1,030 horsepower and an incredible 6,300 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. The technology is highly efficient and reduces the number of batteries needed in the car, which saves both weight and space. A prototype tested at the Silverstone track revealed a 0-to-62 mph sprint of only 2.5 seconds, identical to that of the Ferrari LaFerrari and Tesla Model S with the new 100-kWh battery pack and Ludicrous Mode.

The GT96 is also Giugiaro’s biggest project since leaving Italdesign Giugaro, a company he’s been leading since 1968. Both Giorgetto and Fabrizio left Italdesign in 2015, after the selling the remaining part of his company to Audi. Giorgetto and Fabrizio have since set up a new firm called GFG Progetti. While working at Bertone, Ghia, and Italdesign, Giugiaro has designed several iconic cars, including the Aston Martin DB4 GT, BMW M1, DeLorean DMC-12, Ferrari 250 GT SWD, Lotus Esprit, Maserati Ghibli, and the first-generation Volkswagen Golf.

As for L.M. Gianetti, it was founded in 1966 and has engineered several vehicles for Fiat, Abarth, and Alfa Romeo. The company has the capacity to produce up to 25 vehicles a year.

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Chinese firm BAIC to revive old Mercedes platform for new vehicles

Chinese firm BAIC to revive old Mercedes platform for new vehicles

Upcoming sedan and SUV to use old E-Class parts

Chinese company BAIC Motor Group will recycle an old Mercedes-Benz platform to develop new cars. According to a media report, BAIC received approval from partner Daimler to use a previous E-Class architecture for a brand-new car, which is said to hit the domestic market in 2018 as a midsize sedan. BAIC will also launch SUV and MPV models using the same platform.

There’s no word as to which E-Class platform BAIC is planning to use, but the upcoming vehicles are likely to use parts from the W212 architecture, which was recently discontinued to make way for the new, W213-generation E-Class. On the other hand, Automotive News says, citing Beijing-based website Internet Info Agency, that the upcoming sedan and SUV will be sold under BAIC’s Senova brand, while the MPV will get a Weiwang badge. The former is a brand that BAIC launched in 2012, while the latter is a subsidiary that builds vans.

The report also adds that BAIC is also borrowing two gasoline engines and a transmission from Mercedes-Benz. Units will include a turbocharged, 1.8-liter four-pot and a naturally aspirated, 3.0-liter V-6, while the gearbox will be a six-speed automatic. Both engines were offered with the previous-generation E-Class.

Established in 1958, BAIC (Beijing Automotive Industry Holding) is a state-owned company that operates passenger vehicle and truck joint-ventures with Daimler. It is among the most-productive Chinese automakers, making more than two million vehicles per year. The group includes BAIC Motor (passenger cars and vans), BAW (light off-road vehicles, trucks, and military vehicles), and Foton Motor (trucks, buses, and agricultural machinery). It has joint-ventures with both Daimler and Hyundai.

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2017 SsangYong Tivoli XLV

2017 SsangYong Tivoli XLV

The new Tivoli just got bigger and boxier

Launched in 2015, the SsangYong Tivoli is a mini SUV built to compete with the likes of the Nissan Juke and Kia Soul. Based on the popular Korando as far as design is concerned, the Tivoli is SsangYong’s first new model under Mahindra & Mahindra ownership and it is named after the Italian town of Tivoli, which can be read as "I love it" in reverse. Under development for three years, the crossover was introduced in South Korea in early 2015 with a choice of small-displacement, gasoline and diesel engines. Built in its home country, the Tivoli is exported in several markets in Asia and Europe.

In 2016, SsangYong has expanded the Tivoli family by offering a longer version of the mini SUV. Called the Tivoli XLV, it features a longer body, a roomier interior, and the enhanced practicality that enables it to compete against larger crossovers. Previewed by the XLV Air concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the production model is set to go on sale in Europe and the United Kingdom this summer. SsangYong hopes to sell more than 100,000 Tivoli crossovers by the end of 2016.

“Tivoli has been praised universally for meeting a number of customer requirements, not least its ability to carry five adults in comfort and with one of the largest boot capacities, while many other cars in the sector are regarded as being a ‘down-size’ too far," said Paul Williams, CEO of SsangYong Motor U.K. “Now SsangYong has gone a step further by launching an extended car to provide even more carrying capacity and practicality. This was shown as the XLV Air concept at the IAA motor show in Frankfurt last year, and from the extremely favorable feedback received, took the decision to put the car into production."

Continue reading to learn more about the SsangYong Tivoli XLV.

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2016 BYD Qin EV300

2016 BYD Qin EV300

A strong showing from the biggest electric car producer you’ve never heard of

On March 31st, 2016, stateside EV lovers were consumed with the release of the Tesla Model 3. But if you happened to be on the other side of the Pacific that day, Elon Musk would have taken a backseat to BYD and the Qin EV300. Founded in 2003, BYD (which stands for “Build Your Dreams”) sold 60,000 BEVs and PHEVs last year, making it the world’s top-seller of highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles. The EV300 is the new all-electric variant of BYD’s hugely popular Qin plug-in hybrid, and like the Model 3, it hopes to offer long-range, emissions-free transportation, a good deal of technology, and a price tag that’s relatively affordable.

Named after China’s first empire, the Qin debuted in concept form at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. Billed as a replacement for the F3DM, the Qin was basically a Su Rui sedan outfitted with its predecessor’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The model was enormously successful in China, garnering enough sales to rank it as one of the best-selling PHEVs in the world, and now, the EV300 looks to expand the lineup with a greater price range and all-electric motivation.

Large governmental incentives and rampant air pollution make the electric vehicle an obvious choice in China, but BYD hopes the EV300 will catch on internationally as well. The biggest challenge will undoubtedly be entrance into the U.S. market, although the automaker is already well on its way to meeting that goal, having set up a headquarters in California – home turf for makes like Tesla.

If it does come stateside, the Qin EV300 will most likely get a name change, but the hard bits underneath should be a carryover. There’s currently no set timetable for a BYD release in the U.S., but if (or rather, when) it does happen, what should we expect? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the BYD Qin EV300.

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