Chinese Mobility Outfit Claims Longest BEV Trial

A near 9,000 mile drive along the historic Silk Road is being heralded as the longest single trial of BEV technology by a Chinese mobility company.

Shanghai’s Aiways is claiming the longest point-to-point drive of a prototype electric vehicle ever attempted with its U5 battery-electric SUV. It also committed to be the first vehicle of its kind to be launched by a Chinese brand in Europe when it arrives in April 2020.

The test drive will start in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, China, for its historical significance as a hub for trading, cultural exchange and communication between China and Europe and reflects the communist state’s strategy to revisit the Silk Road in the shape of its Belt and Road trading initiative. Engineers hope to derive lessons from the trip in terms of driving and recharging as they pass through numerous countries where temperatures, road conditions and available charging infrastructures differ considerably.

Aiways has established a $1.9Bn Shangrao production plant in Jiangxi Province, where the U5 will be manufactured. This facility consists of a stamping plant, body and paint shop, and final assembly line. It will initially be able to produce 150,000 cars a year with a second phase of expansion planned to bring capacity to 300,000 units.

The drive is expected to begin on July 17 and details of where the vehicle, which claims a range of 285 miles, will travel are to be released nearer the time.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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