BMW X1-based electric crossover launches in ChinaFri, 22 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800
If the car above looks like a BMW X1 that's received a new grille, that's because it is. But there's more on the inside. More specifically, an electric powertrain and a name you haven't heard: Zinoro. That's the name of a new brand of vehicles created by BMW and Brilliance in China, and it means "promise." So what does the Zinoro 1E promise?
Just unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show, the 1E is powered by an electric motor connected to the rear axle, with the motor producing 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Zinoro says the car's speed is limited to 80 mph, and that it has a range of approximately 93 miles. The 1E features three lithium iron phosphate batteries located throughout the car for better weight balance: under the hood, under the floor, and in place of the traditional gas tank. This placement reportedly achieves 50:50 weight distribution. Zinoro isn't after volume with the Z1, its parent company Brilliance and BMW have more than enough models in the Chinese domestic market to keep their factories busy. What both companies are after is increasing acceptance of luxury electric cars in China, which until now have mostly been based on small sedans and MPVs.
Styling has been tweaked to differentiate the car from the BMW X1.
Zinoro cars will be sold through their own distribution networks in China, and won't have any visible contact with BMW in their home market, where BMW will also be selling its i3 in the near future, along with other cars in the i range. Zinoro won't be the first electric vehicle to go on sale in China, but it may be the first luxury ESAV, or Electric Sports Activity Vehicle as BMW calls it, to be sold under its own standalone brand.
The Chinese domestic market is actually growing quite rapidly when it comes to consumer electric vehicles, and just last year Daimler announced a joint venture with local automaker BYD, creating the Denza electric car brand. But neither Zinoro nor Denza will be sold outside of China for the time being.
By Jay Ramey