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Zotye gears up for Cloud 100 EV launch

Zotye’s upcoming Cloud 100 EV will hit the market in October, and will be based on the successful Z100 platform. The Cloud 100 will not be a luxury item for the few, Zotye’s goal has been to make a feature-laden EV the Chinese people can afford. The company hopes to break the stigma of buying electric with this new model. In addition to being affordable, the Cloud 100 will appeal to younger customers with its fashionable design and heavy tech emphasis.

The retail price of the Cloud 100 is around ¥150,000 ($24,311). It is eligible for a ¥47,500 subsidy from the central government. On top of that, with the 1:1 matching subsidies in many cities, the Cloud 100 may be bought as far down as ¥50,000. The company will even provide corporate subsidies on a case-by-case basis.

With this affordability comes a modern design, and a number of cutting-edge technological features. The trendy 2-color body is in line with cars like the smart, Mini and MG6, and the EPS and semi-independent suspension lead to a comfortable driving experience.

On the technologically savvy side are the navigation system and rear-view camera, all connected to a huge 7-inch color screen. Especially exciting is the Android system powering the vehicles intelligent features, along with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. More than just GPS directions and a camera feed, the screen can display driving data, play DVDs and even connect to smartphones to display the user’s music library or SMS messages.

These computerized features contribute to vehicle security, and peace of mind. Zotye has engineered a monitoring system for the Cloud 100, allowing owners to check on their car from anywhere with a smartphone app.

Any discussion of the Cloud would be lacking without mentioning its accomplishment as an electric vehicle. Driving 100 km in the Cloud 100 only uses 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to ¥0.07 per kilometer. With Zotye’s innovative power recovery system, kinetic energy normally lost in braking is returned to the system with high efficiency. Wasted energy is routed back into driving power.

A concern for safety shows strongly in the Cloud 100’s design. Steel anti-intrusion bars tested for 1,000 MPa placed on either side keep everyone in the car safe in the event of a collision. The model is also equipped with intelligent hill-start assist technology, keeping the car under control on hard inclines.

After its October release, Zotye has sales goals of 8,000 units for the Cloud 100 in 2014. With many favorable government actions and policies guiding the market environment, Zotye predicts a jump to 30,000 in 2015. The Cloud 100 will be distributed through 30 authorized 4S dealers by yearend and 130 4S dealers by the end of 2015. Consumers can purchase the model through direct online sales or via leasing.

Zotye has held the title of “first” many times in the Chinese EV industry. In 2008 it became the first domestic company to hold patents for full EV models, and then became the first to get government permission to produce them. In 2009, it was the first domestic company to get an EV into mass production in China with its 2008 EV. Since then, its experience and market share have both grown significantly. In 2011 the company got its first batch of EV taxis on the roads of Hangzhou. It has since made a name for itself in the commercial EV segments with its taxis, as well as with rental cars. Zotye now has the most varied EV lineup of any Chinese automaker.   

Zotye NEV is the subsidiary in control of electric vehicle operations for Zotye. It has four main plants. The 5008 EV and M300 EV were produced in Yongkang and Hangzhou, respectively, but the Cloud 100 will be produced in Changsha, where Zotye subsidiary Jiangnan Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is based. With annual output capacity of 200,000 vehicles, the Changsha plant is now the main plant for Zotye’s most important EV models.

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