Kandi Model To Start at $13,000 After Credits
A Chinese car company announced this week it will be bringing what they claim will be the “most affordable” pure electric cars sold in the U.S. Kandi Technologies Group plans a virtual launch on August 18, when the company will start taking refundable $100 reservations for its K23 and K27 models, the latter of which is priced at $19,999. The vehicles are being marketed through SC Motorsports, a Kandi subsidiary in Garland, Texas. First deliveries are promised in the fourth quarter of this year.
Kandi is one of hundreds of EV makers in China, but appears to have been the first one to set up a retail operation in America. Another Chinese EV maker, BYD, has marketed its E6 electric sedan in limited numbers for several years but does not have a U.S. retail network for its light-duty vehicles.
The two models Kandi is bringing to America will certainly stand out since they represent less-than-contemporary designs and, other than price, don’t seem to have a truly compelling marketing story.
The Low-Cost Entrant
The K27 (it’s not clear if there’s any meaning to the nomenclature; it doesn’t appear to relate to any of the specifications of the car) is a $19,999 four- passenger car several inches shorter than a Chevrolet Spark. In the U.S. it will probably be seen as a city car, smaller than a subcompact model, fitting into a category formerly occupied by cars like the Fiat 500e and Smart ED.
Powering the K27 is a 20-kilowatt motor fed by a 17.69-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery. Kandi promised a seven hour charge time with a Level 2 240-volt charger. Its range is 100 miles with a governed top speed of 64 mph.
The front-wheel drive hatchback seats four and has an overall length of just a bit more than 136 inches. Its wheelbase is 96.6 inches; curb weight is 2,270 pounds. In the cabin it features a 9.0-inch touchscreen display. It’s a relatively narrow car at 57.9 inches wide.
The Step Up
The second Kandi model is the K23, which will retail for $29,999 before tax credits and incentives. It’s 20 inches longer than the K23, about the size of the Chevrolet Bolt, except with a longer wheelbase and shorter overall length at 104.3 and 156 inches. Also a hatchback, the K23 will offer 188 miles of range from its 41.4 kWh ternary lithium battery pack that will feed a 21 kW motor. The 2,954-pound car’s top is only 70 mph.
Also only a four-passenger model because it’s only 64.5 inches wide, the front-wheel drive K23 and its sister car both carry a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty. The interior of the K23 sports a 10.0-inch touchscreen and appears more upscale than the K27.
Kandi’s history is in electric three-wheelers, ATVs and EV hardware as well as autos, so there is some logic to their entry-level models. As more high-end EVs hit the market and conventional wisdom says 200+ miles of range is the ticket to entry for any model, it appears Kandi is running counter to where much of the electric car market is heading. However, that also means it may end up being the only offering at the low-end of the market and not run into any serious competition. Next step for Kandi is to see what kind of response it gets mid-month and then gauge consumer reaction when deliveries start toward the end of the year.
Some videos of the Chinese EVs:
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