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Karma Automotive Stakes Claim in China with New Plant

Company's first U.S. offering debuts in September.

by on Aug.09, 2016

The original Fisker Karma appears to be the basis for the new Karma Revero, set to debut next month.

The race to take advantage of the Chinese government’s plans to clean up its air by incentivizing automakers to build electric vehicles there just got one more competitor: Karma Automotive.

The company plans to build a $375 million EV plant in Hangzhou, China, according to the company’s application for an environmental impact review posted on its website. The factory will have capacity to manufacture 50,000 cars a year.

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Karma is owned by Wanxiang Group, founded by Chinese billionaire Lu Guanqiu. The company, which also has operations in the U.S. and expected to be unveiled to the media this summer with production to come sooner after. No model has been shown yet.

The companies were built from the bankruptcy rubble of Fisker Automotive Inc.

Karma isn’t the only company looking to gain a foothold in the burgeoning electric vehicle market in China. The usual suspects, including Tesla, BYD, Volvo and Saab, are already trying stake a claim in China. However, according to Automotive News, there are more than 200 companies developing 4,000 “new-energy models.”

A slew of traditional automakers and startups see opportunity as the government is committed to upping annual sales of “new-energy” vehicles 10-fold in the next decade.

The new Karma logo.

China said last year it’ll issue new production licenses to non-automakers, paving the way for Wanxiang to expand beyond making components.

(Karma set to build renamed car in the U.S. For more, Click Here.)

Wanxiang plans to mainly produce cars on the Karma platform at the China plant, including extended-range versions of the Karma and Atlantic models, Automotive News reported, including 39,000 of the two-door Atlantic models, which has a top speed of 134 mph.

Wanxiang Group didn’t immediately comment on the plan. A representative for Zhejiang Environmental Protection Bureau said the project hasn’t yet been approved.

As the company lays the groundwork for production in China, the aforementioned first offering, named the Revero, still hasn’t make its public debut in the U.S.

However, it is getting closer to that long-awaited unveiling. Revero prototypes have been seen conducting hot-weather testing in California. Currently, the car is expected to make its debut on Sept. 8, at an event in Southern California.

(Click Here to see more about Karma getting powerplants from BMW.)

Prototypes of the 400-plus horsepower Revero were caught during hot-weather testing in Death Valley, Calif., ahead of the car’s Sept. 8 debut in Orange County, Calif. The four-door, coupe-styled sedan’s exterior design draws heavily from the Fisker Karma than an all-new car.

Powertrain details haven’t been released but Karma has said it’s using many of the same suppliers as the original Fisker sedan. That car relied on a 2.0-liter turbocharged General Motors Ecotec engine and an electric motor for a total of 403 hp.

However, the company also has an agreement with BMW to source charging systems and electrical controls for the Revero.

(For the latest on Faraday Future, Click Here.)

The car will be built in Karma’s new 556,000 square-foot plant in Moreno Valley, California. The company expects to begin delivering $110,000-plus vehicles by the end of the year at dealerships in Atlanta, Chicago, Ft. Worth, Miami, Palm Beach, Pasadena, Philadelphia, Detroit, Montreal and Toronto that also stock cars from companies including Lamborghini, McClaren, Porsche and others.

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