Wanxiang became the sixth corporation to be permitted to produce new-energy vehicles in China.
Wanxiang Group, is a major Chinese auto parts supplier which almost three years ago bought the assets of obsolete California-based plug-in hybrid carmaker Frisker Automotive, has received authorization from local regulators to produce electric vehicles in China.
According to a notification on Friday on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic and industrial designer, Wanxiang has the green light to build a factory with capacity to produce 50,000 electric cars a year.
The move means the former Fisker Automotive, which was founded in part with a U.S. government loan and come to a close production of its $100,000 plug-in electric hybrid sports cars in 2012 after a series of technical problems and cost overruns, continues to live on under Chinese ownership after Wanxiang gave it a second life.
Wanxiang later changed Fisker’s name to Karma Automotive.
Wanxiang, a Hangzhou-based company which in 2012 also attained U.S. lithium-ion battery maker A123, became the sixth company to be allowed to produce new-energy vehicles in China.
More companies are presently being encouraged to enter the automotive industry in China but only if they are ready to produce so-called new-energy cars, mostly all-electric battery cars and heavily electrified plug-in hybrids.
China has been making a push for electrically-propelled cars by proposing incentives to buyers, forcing global automakers to share their technology, and opening its market to tech firms and others to produce electric vehicles.
Beijing needs that such vehicles to serve the mass market, and hopes the technology will help its auto industry close a competitive gap with universal rivals which have a century’s head-start in traditional ignition engines.
Aside from Wanxiang, NDRC has permitted five companies to products new-energy vehicles, including Ch-Auto’s Qiantu Motor, and Changjiang Auto. More corporations such as WM Motor, Future Mobility, Singulato Motors are looking for approval.