January was a year in itself. There were more interesting news in a few days than in the last years together from the old Saab factory in Trollhättan. It is as if windows had been torn open, spring air had been let in and revived the comatose patient NEVS.
Of course, there is the question of whether spring will end in a wonderful summer. Or if another cold snap will ruin everything. The most important news in January, following the acquisition of NEVS, was the entry of NEVS-Evergande to supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg. One of the finest European addresses, and the last Swedish manufacturer without foreign participation.
Koenigsegg is a success story in the top price segment. The supercars from Ängelholm are at home in the world of the rich. You have to be more than well positioned to invest millions of euros for a Koenigsegg. A sufficient inheritance, a big annual bonus, or a good job is usually not enough. There has to be more. Accordingly, the audience is hand-picked, and Koenigsegg is thinking about expanding into cheaper segments.
Where cheap or affordable here are nice to understand as relative. From a few million will then only just a few hundred thousand €.
Electric supercar from 2020 or 2021
The current Koenigsegg products, such as the hybrid super sports car Regera, are produced in filigree handcraft in Ängelholm. With NEVS it has been agreed to develop an electric sports car that will run from 2020 or 2021 in Trollhättan off the line. Electric sports cars are in vogue, the Porsche Taycan is in the starting blocks, but with its price of estimated from 80.000 € can not be the wish opponent of Koenigsegg. The industry is therefore assuming that they have the upcoming Tesla Roadster in the sights, which will also appear from 2020 on the market.
In the "Founders Series" you can order the Roadster for 250.00 US $, a Koenigsegg from Trollhättan could be in a similar region. Even more interesting for Christian von Koenigsegg should be the production in Tianjin. China is the largest luxury car market in the world, and it is growing steadily. The minority stake in NEVS could become the ticket to the market for the manufacturer from Ängelholm.
Distrubution in Trollhättan
For NEVS itself, a new chapter could begin, which would be disruptive to the previous development. So far, the company, if ever, has attracted attention with maximum average products. The basis of the NEVS 9-3 EV is old, the technical data far removed from what was once promised. In a Tesla forum was recently, and not without reason, from the Wartburg from Trollhättan the speech. If something stands out due to lack of ambition, then the will to offer a product as cheap as possible.
That could change completely, because Koenigsegg opens for NEVS. At least a bit, and in a joint technology startup brings Christian von Koenigsegg high-profile technology. Whatever technology, licenses and design will flow into the company is unclear but would be very interesting to know.
Koenigsegg does not have much to offer. In addition to the experience in the construction of absolute high performance vehicles one has with the regera successfully electrified a supercar. What other manufacturers are talking about has been on the production bench at Koenigsegg for some time. Of course, as always in Ängelholm, not without own ways to tread.
The combination of a V8 combustion engine with 3 electric motors and the patented Koenigsegg Direct Drive eliminates the disadvantages of traditional hybrids and provides a direct connection between the rear axle and the combustion engine. Drive losses are eliminated, the vehicle is lighter by dispensing with the traditional transmission. Unlike a parallel hybrid, the Regera does not have to haul two propulsion systems.
And, perhaps not by accident, the batteries are located in the Regera, where they are also in the Saab 9-3 ePower were.
Another interesting company around Christian von Koenigsegg is the Freewalve AB, She drew attention to 2011 through an exciting engine concept that was credited with great potential. Unfortunately it became a bit quieter around the development, and only 2017 came through the collaboration with Qoros in the press again.
At the Guangzhou Motor Show two years ago, Qoros presented a Freevalve engine, which was considered a prototype for the series. From 1.6 liters cubic capacity he got a performance of 230 PS and 320 Nm torque. Compared to a conventional 1.6 liter Koenigsegg spoke of an increase of 47% of horsepower and 45% of torque. In addition, consumption should decrease by 15%.
Meanwhile, conventional turbos, such as those from the PSA Group, achieve similar values. There would still be the better economy, the 20 Kg lower weight, and the more compact dimensions. And the question of whether freewalve, a few e-motors and batteries could not build a fascinating hybrid? Of course in Trollhattan.
Exciting options. But also question marks.
The options that have emerged for Trollhättan are exciting. As always, it depends on what you do with your options. One recognizes the chances, the other does not. As always, the biggest question mark is the attitude of the administration in China. My look at it is without any illusion. If she is sympathetic to the Evergrande project, and it is acceptable that Xu Jiayin is shaping a group for mobility, then a success story like Volvo and Li Shufu will not stand in the way.
Question mark number 2 is funding. Although NEVS has come virtually overnight to a huge sales network in China and a battery factory. But building production, developing new products, and funding the plants in Shanghai, Tianjin, and Trollhättan will require billions. Because it is no longer about a small Swedish factory and 150.000 vehicles a year. Xu Jiayin thinks in other dimensions that will cost huge sums of money. The 12 or 13 billion US $ that Li Shufu invested in Volvo is an approximate benchmark.
Whether the hitherto rather bland NEVS AB will become a company with fascinating products is shown by the future. The way, if you want to and can do it at all, is very long and you are (again) at the very beginning.