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Startup Niutron charges into China's heated NEV segment

By Li Fusheng | | Updated: 2021-12-16 16:24
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Niutron has a plant with an annual production capacity of 180,000 units in Jiangsu province. [Photo provided to]

Chinese startup Niutron is charging into the fast-growing new energy vehicle sector, with its the first model to be launched in the first half of 2022.

Its founder Li Yinan, a former Huawei executive and also founder of US-listed electric scooter maker Niu Technologies, unveiled the brand and explained its plan on Wednesday.

Li said the company will focus on electric cars and range-extending vehicles, based on its platform called Gemini, and target at the premium vehicle buyers in the country.

Niutron will start to take orders for the first model, a large-sized five-seat SUV with two powertrain options, in the first half of 2022 and deliver them from September in the same year.

Li said he started the Niutron project starting from 2018. Headquartered in Beijing, the company has a research facility in Shanghai, where it has around 1,000 research and development engineers.

Many of them had worked for around 10 years at major carmakers before they joined Niutron, said the company.

Niutron has a plant in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. The plant is scheduled to start operation in March 2022 and is able to produce 180,000 units a year.

The startup said it has raised over $500 million from investors including IDG and Coatue. Li said he is confident that he can raise up to $3 billion thanks to the startup's prospects.

China is now the world's largest market for new energy vehicles. In the first 11 months this year, carmakers sold 2.99 million electric ones and plug-in hybrids in the country, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Deliveries this year, including both passenger vehicles, buses and trucks, could reach 3.3 million units, said the association.

Their sales are expected to see a record number of 5 million units in 2022, as local carmakers and international brands vie to introduce more models into the market, said Ouyang Minggao, vice-president of Chinese auto think tank EV 100.

Before Niutron, Li founded Niu Technologies in 2015, which soon became a dark horse in the two-wheeled electric scooter industry. It was listed in the US in 2019 and is now worth about $1.3 billion.

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