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.
There would of course be the question of whether spring also leads to a wonderful summer. Or whether another cold snap will ruin everything. The most important news in January, after the takeover of NEVS, was NEVS-Evergande's entry into the super sports car 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 filigree handcrafted in Ängelholm. An agreement has been reached with NEVS to develop an electric sports car that will roll off the production line in Trollhättan from 2020 or 2021. Electric sports cars are in vogue, the Porsche Taycan is in the starting blocks, but with its estimated price of 80.000 € or more, it cannot be Koenigsegg's preferred opponent. The industry therefore assumes that they have their sights set on the upcoming Tesla Roadster, which will also appear on the market from 2020.
In the "Founders Series" you can order the Roadster for US $ 250.00, a Koenigsegg from Trollhättan could be in a similar region. Production in Tianjin should be even more interesting for Christian von Koenigsegg. China is the largest luxury car market in the world and it is growing steadily. The minority stake held by NEVS could become the ticket to this market for the manufacturer from Ängelholm.
Distrubution in Trollhättan
For NEVS itself, a new chapter could begin that would be disruptive to previous developments. So far, the company has drawn attention to itself with at most average products, if at all. The basis of the NEVS 9-3 EV is aged, the technical data far from what was once promised. Recently, and not without reason, there was talk of the Wartburg from Trollhättan in a Tesla forum. If something stands out besides a lack of ambition, it is the will to offer a product as cheaply 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 has quite a bit to offer. In addition to experience in building absolutely high-performance vehicles, the Regera has successfully electrified a super sports car. What other manufacturers are talking about has been on the production bench at Koenigsegg for a little longer. Of course, as always in Ängelholm, not without going your own way.
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 possibilities. One recognizes the opportunities, the other does not. As always, the biggest question mark is the attitude of the administration in China. My view of it is without any illusion. If she is sympathetic to the Evergrande project, and if Xu Jiayin is forming a group for mobility, then little stands in the way of a success story like that of Volvo and Li Shufu.
Question mark number 2 is funding. It is true that NEVS came to a huge sales network in China and a battery factory almost overnight. But building up production, developing new products and the necessary funds for the plants in Shanghai, Tianjin and Trollhättan will require billions. Because it's 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 US $ 12 or 13 billion that Li Shufu invested in Volvo is a rough benchmark.
The future will show whether the previously bland NEVS AB will become a company with fascinating products. The path, if you want to and can walk it at all, is very long and you are (again) at the very beginning.