BMW Brilliance’s ZINORO meant to spark interest in electrics
At the recent Guangzhou Auto Show, BMW Brilliance launched the 1E, the first product of its new brand ZINORO, which is developed and tested by the local R&D team.
An all-electric premium sports utility vehicle, the ZINORO 1E is built at BMW’s joint venture plant in the northeastern city of Shenyang, where the carmaker also makes the 3 Series, the 5 Series and the X1 with conventional combustion engines.
“Two years ago, our shareholders approved the ZINORO project, and we are proud to have the first car completed in such a short time,” said Olaf Kastner, president and CEO of the Sino-German joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd.
“To ensure that we can introduce the product to the market as soon as possible, it is developed on our existing model platform, but the entire powertrain and battery system are both brand new and are developed jointly by our local team and suppliers,” Kastner said.
Developed on the basis of BMW X1, the ZINORO 1E is powered by lithium iron phosphate battery, which is widely recognized for its stability and safety in the industry.
With advanced thermo management system, the battery passed tests in extreme temperatures in Xinjiang Uygur and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions. It also meets both international and domestic standards in vibration and crash tests.
The car’s battery management system can monitor the operation of its battery units and if anything unusual happens,
Our goal with the first ZINORO product is not about sales but about improving social awareness of highend electric vehicles, a market segment in which we want to lead.” OLAF KASTNER PRESIDENT AND CEO OF BMW BRILLIANCE AUTOMOTIVE LTD
it will automatically cut the connection between the battery units and the vehicle’s electrical system in 30 milliseconds, ensuring the safety of both the vehicle and its passengers.
The ZINORO 1E has a maximum range of 150 km on a full charge, which takes about 7.5 hours using 16 Ampere electricity. Able to produce peak power of 125 kW and top torque of 250Nm, the electric motor on the car can power it to accelerate from zero to 50 km/h in 5.5 seconds and to reach a top speed of 130 km/h.
A premium electric vehicle developed for the Chinese market, the ZINORO 1E is a reflection of the strength of the company’s local R&D team, Kastner said.
“Our new R& D center in Shenyang has nearly 500 employees, and it is the secondlargest R&D facility of BMW only after the one in Munich,” he said. For rental only
In order to promote market acceptance of electric vehicles, the company decided to lease the ZINORO 1E instead of selling it, starting from next year in a distribution channel separate from the current BMW sales network.
The first showroom will be opened in Beijing in the first quarter of next year, followed by another one in Shanghai, to offer rental and maintenance service for the ZINORO vehicles.
“The electric car market in China is far from mature yet, and customers need some time to accept such products,” Kastner said, explaining that it is the company’s “strategic decision” to adopt the approach of rental business.
“People tend to have concerns when new technology emerges and might be reluctant to pay a big deal of money to own such a vehicle, but to rent means that more customers can have the opportunity to experience our product without such worries,” he said.
For those interested in renting the vehicle, the carmaker will help them to install charging facilities in their parking space in cooperation with local grids and property management companies.
“We will provide considerate services, and customers only have to pay a stable rent to enjoy all the services including charging pole installment, insurance, aftersale maintenance as well as free roadside assistance,” Kastner said.
“Our goal with the first ZINORO product is not about sales but about improving social awareness of highend electric vehicles, a market segment in which we want to lead.” New milestone
The debut of the ZINORO 1E is seen by the carmaker as a new milestone not only in its new-energy efforts but also in its localization strategy in China.
Founded in 2003, the joint venture BMW Brilliance has grown rapidly in the past decade through a strong commitment to putting down roots in the Chinese market.
The joint venture currently operates two vehicle plants in Shenyang, one in Dadong district and one in Tiexi district.
The locally built lineup now includes the long-wheelbase 5 Series, the 3 Series in both standard and extended wheelbases as well as the X1.
Combined annual capacity of the plants could reach 300,000 units by the end of this year.
The joint venture also has a new engine factory under construction in the city that is set to be ready in 2016.
Partly driven by the strong local product portfolio, BMW’s sales in China so far this year increased 20 percent compared with the same period last year.
The BMW 5 Series remained the bestseller, with average monthly sales exceeding 10,000 units. The 3 Series also reported good sales, its monthly average exceeding 6,000 units this year.
The market performance of the 5 Series is expected to further improve as it just had the mid-cycle facelift in September, Kastner said.
The same goes for the 3 Series because the company will offer more powertrain and kit options, he said.
Also, the X1 has always been a highly competitive product in its market segment, and there is a growing demand for it among dealers, he said.
Despite the slowdown this year, the forecast for China’s premium car market remains optimistic, Kastner said.
The ZINORO 1E is an all-electric premium SUV developed and built at the Sino-German joint venture BMW Brilliance.