It seems like almost every month or so a new start-up, often with roots tied up with a huge manufacturing conglomerate based in China, announces ambitious plans to launch a new generation of advanced hybrid or electric vehicles. Some of them become somewhat successful, like Coda, while others appear to be nothing more than pie in the sky, like V-Vehicle for example.
Today, we have news of one of the most ambitious start-ups we’ve ever come across. The firm in question is Hybrid Kinetic Motors Corp. and its founder is a man formerly known as Yang Rong--he now goes by the name Benjamin Yeung. Incidentally, Rong, or Yeung, or whatever name he goes by, is the former chairman of Chinese automaker Brilliance, which is enjoying some success with its line of cars being sold in Asia and parts of Europe.
While Brilliance sells relatively conventional gasoline powered cars, Hybrid Kinetic is hoping to launch a whole range of hybrid vehicles and cars powered by natural gas. The firm has publicly stated that it plans to spend more than $4.5 billion building a new production facility in Alabama to start building around million new cars per year by 2018.
With such ambitious plans in place, and without even a brand name or dealer base established, the chances of Hybrid Kinetic’s plans ever coming to fruition are next to nil. However, that hasn’t stopped the firm from also announcing that it has committed to an eight-year multivehicle design agreement worth $538 million with Italian design house Italdesign Giugiaro.
If any of Hybrid Kinetic’s plans ever eventuate, we’ll keep you update.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]