Enovate will form a joint venture with Saudi Arabia's Sumou Holding to build a production and R&D base in Saudi Arabia with an annual capacity of about 100,000 NEVs.
(Image credit: Enovate)
Enovate Motors, an electric vehicle (EV) startup that has not made much of a name in China, is betting big on the Middle East market.
Enovate signed a deal with local company Sumou Holding in Saudi Arabia on December 7 to jointly build a new energy vehicle (NEV) production plant here, the Chinese EV maker announced today.
The two sides will form a joint venture that will make two phases of expenditures totaling about $500 million in Saudi Arabia to build a production and R&D base with an annual capacity of about 100,000 NEVs.
The facility, when completed, will be the first Chinese-branded NEV production facility in Saudi Arabia, Enovate said.
Enovate is also discussing the investment strategy with Saudi investors and shareholders, including the Saudi sovereign fund and Saudi Aramco.
Enovate's press release provided no further information, although The Economic Observer today cited sources at the company as saying that the Saudi sovereign fund and Aramco are its investors.
Enovate was formerly known as Zhejiang Dianka Automobile, which was founded in 2015 and produces mini electric vehicles. The Enovate brand was officially launched in November 2018.
In September 2020, the company's first model, the all-electric SUV Enovate ME7, was launched.
Enovate makes its second model, the SUV Enovate ME5 with extended-range technology, officially available in China on July 13, 2021.
The ME5 currently has a starting price of RMB 138,800 ($19,900) and the ME7 is RMB 269,800.
In China, Enovate's performance has been weak, with ME5 sales of 246 units in November and cumulative sales of 2,519 units this year, according to auto media Dongchedi.
Nonetheless, Enovate joined many other local companies in raising prices as China's subsidies for NEVs are set to expire at the end of the year.
On December 1, Enovate announced a price increase of RMB 5,000-8,000 for all models, blaming the withdrawal of subsidies and a sharp rise in raw materials for power cells.