California-based Mullen Technologies, which plans to sell Chinese-designed electric cars in the United States, appears to have changed its plans again.
Mullen announced Thursday that it would begin developing a "pre-production facility" in Monrovia, California, which is scheduled to be fully operational in mid-2021. The facility will handle the "pre-production process" for the MX-05 electric SUV, which Mullen is now taking $100 refundable deposits for. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2022.
Under this new terminology, Mullen didn't provide an explanation of what pre-production means—or where the rest of the production implied by the use of the term might take place.
Announced earlier this year, the all-wheel drive MX-05 will have a 325-mile range and will do 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, Mullen said.
What was missing from Mullen's Thursday announcement was any mention of its other planned model—the Qiantu K50 electric coupe.
The aluminum-framed, carbon-fiber-bodied K50—also called Dragonfly K50—was a surprise head-turner at the New York Auto Show in 2019, and was already being built in China by CH-Auto.
At the time, Mullen quoted 4.6-second 0-60 mph acceleration and a 236-mile range for the U.S.-market version. So the sleek-looking, more aerodynamic, coupe has slower acceleration and less than than the SUV, in this case.
It's completely unclear how a decision to use the California facility affects Mullen's plans for a facility near Spokane, Washington, that would effectively assemble modules of the K50 sent to the U.S. That process was carefully planned around trade rules, and Green Car Reports has reached out to Mullen for an update.
Mullen has tried in the past to sell other Chinese EVs in the U.S., and it holds intellectual property rights to some technology from defunct startup Coda Automotive. It told Green Car Reports last year that it still plans to develop its own cars—using Coda's battery management system—rather than reviving Coda's compact sedan.