Friday, 31 March 2017

Thunder Power to invest 80 MEUR in R&D center in Catalonia


Hong Kong (CNA).- Electric vehicle producer Thunder Power will locate its European operations headquarters, develop an advanced research center, and facilitate the construction of a second manufacturing site catering to European markets in Catalonia. The Hong-Kong multinational plans to invest €80 million in the R&D center, which is expected to be fully operational in 2018 and create 200 jobs. The assembly and distribution plant will be ready by 2020, will create 1,000 jobs, and could produce up to 50,000 vehicles per year. The agreement was signed during the unveiling event of the first running prototype this Thursday at Hong Kong’s Eaton House. Over 250 business professionals from Barcelona, Catalonia and Hong Kong participated in the showcase, including the Catalan Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, and the Second Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni. Thunder Power Chairman & CEO Wellen Sham praised Catalans’ “efficiency” and Barcelona’s promotion of “clean energy and sustainability”.

The exact location of the R&D centre, which will be Thunder Power’s second in Europe, after one located in Milan, has not been revealed yet. The equipment is expected to focus on the company’s new electric vehicles. Thus, it will develop fundamental aspects related to the bodywork, transmission system, dynamics, batteries and applications related to autonomous and connected driving.

“Catalans are really efficient, hard-working and open minded people, which warmly welcome new investments”, Thunder Power’s CEO Wellen Sham explained. He also praised Catalan Government’s interest and outlined Barcelona’s bid for “clean energy” and its aim to promote a sustainable model of the city.

Moreover, Thunder Power has chosen Catalonia to access the European market. A plant which is expected to assemble and distribute the company’s electric models to the rest of the continent will be operative by 2020. Initially, the factory is expected to produce 10,000 per year but could reach 50,000 cars annually by 2025. Thunder Power’s hub in Catalonia will complement its manufacturing plant located in China—which will begin to build the vehicle at the end of 2018—as well as its central offices in Hong Kong and its Italian design centre.

The car: a range of 650 km

The electric car Thunder Power presented in Hong Kong is a high-end vehicle designed in Italy with European technology and engineering developed in partnership with firms such as Dallara and CSI. The battery has capacity up to 125 kWh and a range of 650 km, and the 320 kWh version can reach top speeds of 240 km/h. The first version of this model was presented in the international Frankfurt Motor Show in 2015.

Boosting foreign investment in Hong Kong

The signing of this collaboration agreement between the Catalan Government and Thunder Power takes place within the celebration of institutional and trade mission, led by Minister Baiget, lasting up to this Friday to China and Hong Kong—which sees the participation of 40 Catalan companies—and with the goal of boosting trade relations and reinforcing the foreign investment in Catalonia. In fact, this Thursday morning, the Minister and the Director General of Industry and CEO of ACCIÓ, Núria Betriu, presented the opportunities to be found in Catalan industry to 70 Hong Kong investors, companies, entrepreneurs and institutions, in an act held in the Chamber of Commerce in that city.

About Catalonia Trade & Investment

Catalonia Trade & Investment is the Catalan Government agency for foreign investment and business competitiveness. It promotes innovation, internationalisation, trade and funding of Catalan companies and startups. It also organizes trade missions in countries chosen strategically for their business and technology cooperation opportunities. In addition, it offers specialised one-stop-shop services to international investors and corporations, attracting foreign direct investment to Barcelona and Catalonia. Headquartered in Barcelona, Catalonia Trade & Investment operates from 39 offices around the world, covering 110 markets.

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  • Catalan Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, shakes hands with Thunder Power's CEO Wellen Sham (by ACN)