It may not be an event of international stature, but GM still chose the 2012 Auto Guangzou Auto Show to launch the new Sail Springo EV, which has the distinction of being the first-ever production electric vehicle developed by a Chinese joint venture.
It is the first step in GM's plan to increase its EV and hybrid sales in the world's largest car market - and since the country's tax system makes imports prohibitively expensive, local production was the only way to go for the Detroit brand its partner.
The Sail Springo EV was developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) and according to the company, “meets the highest global electric vehicle standards, using the latest industry battery and electric drive technology”.
Its propulsion system consists of a permanent magnet electric motor, an advanced battery liquid cooling system, an innovative motor efficiency optimizer, a rechargeable energy storage system mated to low gear design and regenerative braking.
The Sail Springo EV’s maximum output of 114HP (85 kW) and 510Nm (376 lb-ft) of torque enables it to dispatch the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint in a little over 10 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). Furthermore, pressing the Sport button gives a 20 percent boost in acceleration at the beginning and middle of the torque curve.
According to GM, it consumes less than 15 kWh for every 100 km (62 miles), which the carmaker says is less than most EVs currently on sale. Its range is more than satisfactory for an all-electric vehicle at 130 km (80 miles) under various driving conditions and an impressive 200 km (124 miles) at a constant speed of 60 km/h (37 mph).
GM’s new Chinese EV can be charged though a regular home power outlet or a 3.3-kW charging station. A full charge via a 220V connection takes seven hours and there are three modes: immediate, time delay, and time delay and rate charging.
Charging can be controlled and monitored via a smartphone application that’s provided by Shanghai OnStar. This allows users to not only remotely control some of their car’s functions, like starting the air conditioning, but also be warned of any problems thanks to the vehicle systems analysis it performs.
“Production of the Sail SPRINGO EV is an important milestone in Shanghai GM's ‘Drive to Green’ product strategy”, said Shanghai GM President Ye Yongming. “It demonstrates Shanghai GM's success in the pursuit of electrification and other eco-friendly technologies for the benefit of our customers.”
The Sail Springo EV is priced at RMB 258,000 (US$41,400 at today’s exchange rate) - that's half the local price of the (imported from the U.S.) Chevrolet Volt hybrid. Moreover, its buyers will also get incentives of up to RMB 60,000 (US$9,600) from China’s central government and 40,000 (US$6,400) from the Shanghai government.
Shanghai GM provides a 3-year/80,000 km warranty, which is extended to 5-years or 100,000 km for the battery. It will initially be sold in Shanghai, as part of a trial program, and then throughout the country by Shanghai GM’s exclusive “Drive to Green” sales network.
By Andrew Tsaousis