The owner of Karma Automotive, Wanxiang Group, is the second auto-parts company to receive permission from China's top economic planner to develop and multiply the number of electric cars. This is under a special government-incentivized program to influence companies not belonging to auto manufacturing to produce "new energy" plug-in electrified vehicles.
Founded by Chinese billionaire Lu Guanqiu, Wanxiang Group sets up their manufacturing plant as it plans to build an electric vehicle factory and produce a huge number of electric cars in China. This makes it the latest company to flag ambitions to build new-energy vehicles in the world's biggest auto market.
Wanxiang Group got the approval from the National Development and Reform Commission to invest in facilities to produce extended-range electric cars. According to a notice from the agency's website last week, the investment value for the project proposal will be 2.5 billion yuan ($375 million) and the factory will have the capacity to manufacture 50,000 cars a year.
Production will consist mostly of original Fisker designs as Wanxiang Group bought the bankrupt Fisker Automotive's Atlantic, a two-door hybrid sports car concept, through their plant. They have provided the financial support to revive the company as Karma, which never quite made it to production in the U.S. after the Department of Energy pulled Fisker's loans.
Wanxiang Group was one of six companies under the special program to win the approval after filing for an initial environmental impact review last September, Wanxiang Group received clearance to invest in a plant located in Hangzhou, China. The company said that the plant would be manufacturing vehicles mainly on the Fisker Karma platform and also the never-made Atlantic, which was put in concept form only in 2012.
Last month, Minth Group Ltd. became the first company to win approval to manufacture PEVs in China. According to Reuters, there are other companies seeking for government approval, such as WM Motor, Future Mobility and Singulato Motors.