BEIJING – LeTV is independently developing key EV battery components including electric motor, electric control, battery module and battery management system as well as systems integration for its upcoming Super Car, according to Fu Zhenxing, vice president of LeTV Super Car in charge of R&D.
Fu made the comments at a media interview after the Internet Ecosystem Innovation Forum organized by LeTV on December 21 in Beijing, where he made his first public appearance after joining the company half a year ago.
“Battery cells will be the only components we will procure from outside suppliers,” Fu told CBU/CAR in response to a question on the status of LeTV Super Car’s key components development, an area where Fu has focused for the development of Roewe plug-in hybrids and EVs at SAIC Motor for the last seven years.
“We already have come up with a first-round production intent solution for the electric motor and are working on a prototype,” said Fu.
Fu is the sixth senior executive from the traditional auto industry that has joined LeTV Super Car over the past year. Prior to his stint with SAIC Motor, he spent some 20 years with Ford and Chrysler in the U.S. For the past six months, Fu has been busy assembling an R&D team to develop key EV components. “I have followed the convention in the traditional industry of walking the walking before talking the talk,” said Fu. “Let’s get the products out first.”
Fu revealed that a major reason why he joined LeTV Super Car is because the future of the society will be smart, connected, green and shared, and so will the automobile. “In a smart and connected society, the car itself bringing people from point A to B will no longer be important, it is because of the pursuit of other smart and connected features that have attracted me to join LeTV,” said Fu. “Internet companies and traditional carmakers are standing at the same starting line when it comes to building a smart EV.”
Fu believes that Chinese EV battery, electric motor and control technology still lag behind global levels in terms of performance and dependability and what LeTV is trying to accomplish is to ensure dependability and safety of its Super Car and provide customers with the most extreme experience.
In order to tackle the issue of EV cost control, LeTV Super Car will focus on systems efficiency improvement, according to Fu. “The battery accounts for more than half the cost of an EV. A one percent increase in systems efficiency means several kWh less battery is needed,” said Fu. “Our job is to reduce unnecessary links, increase modularization and shorten development process in order to save cost.”
Fu denied that LeTV’s smart EV making ambitions are to disrupt the traditional industry but rather the ultimate goal is to have more blue skies. LeTV Super Car’s future production plans already extend well beyond 2020, according to Fu, without revealing more details.
At the upcoming 2016 CES in January, LeTV will showcase an Aston Martin Rapide S retrofitted with LeTV’s telematics system, several car kits such as driving recorders and announce a major strategic cooperation with Faraday Future, the California EV startup that is building a $1 billion plant in North Las Vegas, Nevada in the U.S.