Aiways hasn't gained much of a presence in China, but its vehicles have made their way to a dozen other countries.
(Image credit: Aiways)
There's a Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup that doesn't have much of a presence in its home market, but is instead better known in international markets. That's Aiways, which today launched its latest model in China.
Aiways today officially made the Aiways U6 SUV available in China, the company's second model after the Aiways U5 SUV, with a starting price of RMB 219,900 ($30,590).
The model is a coupe SUV with a length, width and height of 4,805 mm, 1,880 mm and 1,641 mm, respectively, and a wheelbase of 2,800 mm.
It is powered by a single electric motor with 160 kW of maximum power and 315Nm of peak torque, and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds.
The model comes standard with a 63-kWh battery pack and a CLTC range of 505 km. Consumers can upgrade the battery pack capacity to 72 kWh for a CLTC range of 590 km by paying RMB 18,000.
In fast charging mode, the Aiways U6 takes 30 minutes to charge from 30 percent to 80 percent with the 63-kWh pack and 40 minutes with the 72-kWh version.
The model has a 14.6-inch center screen in the cabin that integrates most of the car's touch control functions.
Aiways was founded in 2017 and currently has a factory in Shangrao, Jiangxi, with an annual capacity of 150,000 units. It also has an R&D and design center in Shanghai, and battery pack factories in Changshu, Jiangsu and Europe.
It is worth noting that Aiways has had a lukewarm performance despite the rapid growth of the Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) market over the past few years.
Aiways sold 2,600 units for the year 2020, 3,011 units in 2021 and 1,426 units in the first half of this year.
For reference, wholesale sales of new energy passenger vehicles in China reached a record 675,000 units in September, the second consecutive month of more than 600,000 units, according to data released earlier this month by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
The Tesla Model Y, the best-selling SUV in China, had 46,694 retail sales in China in September, according to the CPCA.
Notably, Aiways appears to be focusing its main efforts on overseas markets, having entered more than a dozen countries.
In October 2018, Aiways announced its overseas strategy in Germany. The year 2019 sees the launch of the Aiways U5 in the EU.
Since the first Aiways vehicles were exported in May 2020, Aiways U5 has entered 15 countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Israel.
In the first half of the year, Aiways exported 1,042 vehicles, representing 62 percent of its annual exports last year.
But building a car is, after all, a job that needs to burn money, and Aiways seems to be pressing ahead with its US listing.
Late last month, China Liberal Education Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: CLEU) announced that it had entered into a non-binding letter of intent with Aiways Holdings Limited to acquire the latter's entire issued share capital.
The acquisition values all of Aiways' equity interests at a total of $5 billion to $6 billion.
However, CLEU has indicated that it has not entered into a binding agreement with Aiways in relation to the acquisition. The parties are completing their respective due diligence on each other and continue to negotiate the terms of a definitive agreement.
CLEU is a Chinese education and training provider that went public on Nasdaq on May 8, 2020.
The company reported revenues of $3.91 million in 2021, a decrease of 22.2 percent year-on-year. It had a net loss of $1.25 million in 2021, compared to a net profit of $1.21 million it realized in 2020.