When U.S. automakers like Buick start building certain models in China in order to both reduce production costs and cater to China's huge appetite for cars, everyone takes notice. So, what happens when a Chinese car company wants to build one of theirs on our turf? Sounds nuts, doesn't it? Well, that's exactly what Qiantu Motors wants to do with their EV sports car, simply known as the K50.
Not too shabby and not especially derivative, either. Pretty good for a Chinese car.
If you've never heard of Qiantu, you're not alone. The company is actually owned by CH-Auto and is partnering with California-based Mullen Technologies to produce the K50. So, what actually gives? Well, Qiantu wants to sell cars here and utilize Mullen production facilities and distribution channels. How this will actually happen and be profitable remains to be seen. Neither Qiantu nor Mullen is even close to a household name).
Now for the K50, itself. The sporty coupe looks good enough to attract buyers with its deeply scalloped and vented body, sloping roofline, and two-tone paint job. The K50 will be purely electric and deliver 402 horsepower, a 0-62 time of 4.6 seconds, 236 miles of range via its 78-kWh battery, and a 124 mph top speed.
As good as it looks, we're not sure many will buy this $100,000+ Chinese-American EV.
The construction will be pretty cutting-edge with an aluminum frame and a carbon fiber body. That's not cheap to produce, but the K50 should be cheaper than a Tesla P100D ($140K). Mullen and Qiantu will try to keep prices down by using American-sourced parts and imported Chinese components that are already assembled. The K50's base price is $109,320 when converted into U.S. dollars.
Everything will hopefully get worked out on the logistics side in the coming months, and then Mullen will start producing the K50 sometime in 2019 as a 2020 model. Qiantu/Mullen will open up reservations of the K50 sometime next year. It'll be interesting to see how a car this niche sells against more sporty EVs like the aforementioned Tesla Model S and the new Audi e-tron GT.