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Chery electric car on importer’s Chinese wishlist

Electric dreams: Chinese car-maker Chery unveils its own electric-powered car, the S18.

Ateco Automotive in talks over new Chery plug-in hybrid

Chery logo23 Feb 2009

A NEW electric car revealed by China’s Chery Automobile is on the wishlist of Australian franchise holder Ateco Automotive – once it gets the Chinese brand up and running in this country.

The Chery S18 is said to be capable of 120km/h and a range of 150km on its lithium-ion batteries, which can be fully charged in four to six hours and 80 per cent charged in half an hour.

Ateco said it had been talking with Chery about the electric car and its potential for Australia.

But Ateco spokesman Edward Rowe said that without an infrastructure for Chery in Australia and confirmation of a right-hand-drive version of the S18, it would remain on the wishlist.

Ateco was to have launched its first Chery vehicles in Australia at this week’s Melbourne International Motor Show, but that move stalled over Australian Design Rule (ADR) compliance and currency exchange issues.

62 center image Ateco managing director Ric Hull told GoAuto earlier this month that Chery had been “dragging the chain a little bit in terms of getting the documentation completed and complianced”.

“They are now making good progress with their documentation, but we haven’t seen any completed documents submitted to DOTARS yet. No ADR yet,” he said.

“Yes, we are totally dependent on currency and/or the market adjusting to whatever the exchange rates are at the time. (But) we’re still hoping for second-quarter launch for Great Wall and, maybe, a third-quarter launch for Chery.” Mr Rowe said Chery remained an important part of Ateco's plans and would still proceed, ADRs compliance and exchange rates permitting.

He said he could not speculate on a potential launch date for the electric S18, as Chery still did not have an Australian infrastructure.

“But, yes, it is one of the models we are looking at, and we have been talking with them about that,” he said “But first it does need an infrastructure and right-hand drive.” Chery’s self-developed electric car is the second EV to be announced by a Chinese company. Last year, BYD Auto – a subsidiary of rechargeable battery maker BYD Co – launched its plug-in hybrid car, F3DM.

A unit of US billionaire Warren Buffett’s investment company Berkshire Hathaway is reported to have committed to pay $US230 million ($A352m) for a 10 per cent stake in BYD, which is scheduled to launch its first all-electric car, the E6, in China in the second half of 2009.

Chery did not say when it planned to produce the S18 or whether it had secured firm orders.

Last year, Chery demonstrated hybrid cars at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, using hybrid Chery A5s developed by supplier Ricardo as official fleet vehicles.

Rival SAIC Motor Corp, China's biggest auto-maker, said in November it would set up a venture with its state-owned parent to invest 2 billion yuan ($A447m) to develop hybrid and electric vehicles.

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