Chinese auto manufacturer Qoros, controlled by Kenon Holdings Ltd (TASE:KEN: NYSE: KEN-WI) and Chinese company Chery, is opening an auto R&D center in Israel aimed at developing a smart car, Qoros sources in China said. The measure is part of the company's recently announced focus on rechargeable electric and hybrid cars and the development of autonomous driving technology. As part of this plan, Qoros recently set up a mobility division headed by its deputy CEO. The announcement in China stated that the R&D center in Israel would develop networks for charging electric vehicles, vehicle sharing, etc.
The first information on this development was reported in "Globes" in February this year, but Kenon did not comment on it. Chery and Kenon, controlled by Idan Ofer, announced in the past few days that they planned to inject 500 million yuan ($71 million) in order to enable the company to concentrate on an electric vehicle.
In China, Qoros CEO Chen Anning said, "The potential of the Chinese auto market and the urgent need for environmentally friendly vehicles are making China a global player in products and technologies for cars propelled by alternative energy. Our shareholders will continue to support the company in order to promote vehicles with alternative propulsion."
Qoros plans to launch a fully electric car with a battery range of 350 kilometers in China this year, and will launch its second generation of vehicles based on electric propulsion, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, and other innovations in 2020. The measure is part of the global auto industry's broad focus on Israel and Israeli know-how in smart vehicles and related technologies.
General Motors already has a large R&D center in Israel, and Renault, Daimler, and other companies also conduct R&D in Israel. Qoros, which is mired in debt, can meanwhile take comfort in the fact that the important Chinese Autohome auto website rated its Qoros 5 four-wheel drive vehicle in first place in a quality review of dozens of selected models this year, including models made by Toyota, Lexus, Cadillac, BMW, and a series of Chinese brands. The review stated that Qoros's vehicle had the fewest malfunctions per kilometer.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 29, 2016
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