Tesla founder, Chinese company launch SF Motors electric cars


SF Motors SF5

SF Motors SF5

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In the beginning, there was Tesla, although it wasn't started by current CEO Elon Musk.

While Musk has now become synonymous with the electric-car brand, Tesla was actually founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who had previously founded and sold a eBook reader company.

While both left the company in 2008, they have kept their hands in electric vehicles, and now Eberhard  has teamed up with Chinese car developer Chongqing Sokon in a venture called SF Motors.

DON'T MISS: Chinese startup SF Motors bought Tesla founder's battery-tech firm (Nov 2017)

Chongqing bought Eberhard's battery development company InEVit, which was working on improving energy density in electric-car packs. It also bought an old Hummer factory in South Bend, Indiana.

In late March, Chongqing introduced its first two electric vehicles at its headquarters in Silicon Valley on Monday, in an event covered by industry trade journal Automotive News.

Both are based on variants of the same "skateboard" chassis, with a flat battery pack mounted low to the floor and individual motors on each axle to power the wheels.

Chinese electric-car startup SF Motors headquarters

Chinese electric-car startup SF Motors headquarters

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The SF5 And SF7—which we can only speculate may denote seating capacity—will use versions of the powertrain developed by InEVit.

SF Motors says the four-motor version will produce 1,000 horsepower and sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. The cars are expected to deliver 300 miles of range.

CHECK OUT: Tesla Battle: Founder Eberhard Sues CEO Musk (Jun 2009)

The company is also reportedly working with the University of Michigan to develop autonomous driving capability for the SF5 and SF7.

Because it has a pair of factories in place already—not only the South Bend site, but also its own plant in Chongqing, China—SF Motors says it will have a jump on other new luxury electric-car competitors.

SF Motors SF7

SF Motors SF7

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Those might include Byton, Faraday Future, Lucid, and the Polestar arm of Volvo, all of them at various stages of development and backed by Chinese funds.

The company claims it will begin pre-production this fall, with a goal of putting its first cars on sale in the spring of 2019.

Eventually, it says it plans to build 200,000 cars per year: 50,000 for the U.S., and 150,000 more for China. 

 
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