BMW Bril­liance’s ZINORO meant to spark in­ter­est in electrics

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HAN TIANYANG han­tianyang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The ZINORO 1E is an all-elec­tric pre­mium SUV de­vel­oped and built at the Sino-Ger­man joint ven­ture BMW Bril­liance.

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