On Tuesday NEVS started the pre-series production of the NEVS 9-3 EV in Tianjin. The new plant was opened with a big ceremony, even though it is still not completely finished.
The construction will cost around 400 million, but the final funding is still not. The production of the pre-production runs along bodyshells from Trollhättan; Swedish employees help train their Chinese colleagues. Series production is scheduled to start in summer 2018, by then a body shop must also be built on site.
NEVS 9-3 EV. Design of the series? Or not?
The NEVS 9-3 EV shown on Tuesday probably does not look like the series. The should look at the appearance of Studies that a Korean team had designed for NEVS. But because there is a high probability that there are no tools for this yet, the EV has an older design. It looks more like Saab than the final version and could be the design that was discarded because it was too Saab and too little Asian for the NEVS owners.
That would be the one possible version. Another source is sure that NEVS wants to bring this design into production. Because it is cheaper and has fewer modifications. As always, NEVS provides no facts and opens up space for speculation.
Whether the presented electric car at all a current pre-production vehicle from Tianjin or a staging is another question. On the 15. In November, the bodyshells were manufactured in the old Saab factory. By train they would be within a few days in China, prompt shipping to Belgium provided. And then just as fast loading on to Tianjin, quick assembly and preparation for the show. Between production and presentation are 20 days. Including paintwork, logistics and some 1.000 kilometers distance.
NEVS is the master of staging, we have learned that in recent years. There are no pictures from the factory in China and from the montage. Eventually, NEVS presented an electric car, which was mounted in the Frickeboa in Trollhättan.
The nameplate, found at sohu.com, shows December 2017 as the production date. That may or may not be a reality. But it provides the only technical data that is available. With a presumed 2.2 tons and 130 kW, the NEVS 9-3 is definitely not a Tesla hunter. Official technical data that would be reliable are pending.
Starting in the year 2019 50.000 electric cars will be produced annually, some of which still carry old Saab DNA. Behind the announcements one should set a multiplicity of question marks. The biggest problem is sustainable financing, which is still uncertain. Without them, it will not come to mass production in the summer 2018. A creative interim solution, the delivery of body shells from Sweden, for example, is not possible. The production license is tied to high local value added.
NEVS sees itself as Saab's successor
Another problem is the age of the platform. The Saab 9-3 sedan would have had a chance as a new edition with the fans. In 2013 and 2014. But not in 2019 or 2020 in a tough market without a NEVS fan base. And that is perhaps the biggest problem. At the beginning, to be seen on Instagram, NEVS once again quoted the supposedly great past. The Ursaab was tried again, but NEVS is not Saab - and neither heir nor a legitimate successor.
NEVS and Stefan Tilk's team need good luck in the coming months. The situation for the Chinese startup is a little better than it was weeks ago. But still tense and nothing is certain. And the way is still long!